On January 28, 2012 Susan Brown,’95, Melanie Gormley,’09, Tom Judd, ’96, Krystle Ongaco ‘05, and Adam Weaver participated in the 16th Annual Polar Bear Plunge at Sandy Point State Park. The event raises money and awareness for the Special Olympics of Maryland.
Dressed in a mixture of bathing suits and cold gear, the five members of E&CS lined up with the large crowd and made their way into the freezing cold water. While many in the crowd had made the plunge several times, it was a first for all five Towson employees.
“The excitement of all those people made the feeling of going into ice cold water an after-thought,” said Ongaco. “It was a fun and amazing experience I will never forget.”
“The Polar Bear Plunge was a fun opportunity to bond with my co-workers all the while raising money for great cause,” Weaver said. “Don’t try to prepare yourself for the plunge by taking a freezing cold shower the morning of … it doesn’t help.”
“It couldn’t have been a more perfect day, plunging into icy cold water with my amazing coworkers and friends… beautiful sunny day… for a wonderful cause,” said Brown. “I had a blast!”
“Once I got down to the beach, my adrenalin took over and I was excited to just get in water with everyone else,” said Judd. “I thought I would be racing out of the water to dry off, instead I went back in for a second dip!”
“As I was approaching the water I thought to myself I’m crazy but this is awesome,” said Gormley. “It was great being with my co-workers, sharing a fun experience that was for an even better cause.”
Each employee was teamed up with another member of the department, dubbed their chicken (or non-plungee), to help raise the $50 dollars required for anyone who wanted to join the plunge. Jim McTygue, Director of E&CS, offered up a free lunch to the team that raised the most money.
Team Judd, which consisted of Judd and Beth Walsh, raised $1,340, the most of the five teams. But all five did a tremendous job in raising money and McTygue thought it only fair that all five teams be awarded the free lunch for their efforts.
“I cannot begin to tell you how proud I am of our team members that plunged and raised donations for this outstanding cause,” said McTygue.
McTygue continued, saying, “All in all, $3,800 was donated to the Special Olympics of Maryland and all five teams survived the cold plunge. The Special Olympics has a significant place in the hearts of many faculty, staff and students at Towson University as many have worked or volunteered at the Maryland Special Olympics Summer Games over the years. The Summer Games have been a fixture at Towson University for all but a few of the 42 years of its existence. I really did not understand just how special these games were until the first time I worked this fantastic event. The games mean so much to the athletes who train all year to participate. The Summer Games this year will be held on Saturday June 9 and Sunday June 10. Anyone looking to volunteer may sign up and obtain additional information at the Special Olympics web site www.somd.org .“
“Would I do it again,” pondered Judd. “I’ll let you know when I get the feeling back in my toes.”