SEASIDE HEIGHTS, NJ – Several Clark residents joined more than 7,000  participants to ‘get freezing for a reason’ in the 25th annual Polar Bear Plunge on Saturday, held by the Special Olympics of New Jersey.   

According to the SONJ, thousands of folks plunge into the frigid waters of the Atlantic Ocean to raise money for programming and events for more than 25,000 athletes throughout the state. Plungers must raise at least $100 before the event to be eligible to participate.

Clark native Dan Collins, a sports writer for TAPinto Clark, has plunged for the cause with his family since 2012.

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“It’s always a great time because a lot of people do it and all the money that you raise goes to a great cause,” Collins said. “Some of the apparel you get, depending upon how much you raise, includes all kinds of cool things. I still wear my Polar Bear Plunge sweatshirt every day.”

Several members of the Clark, Rahway, Linden and Woodbridge Police Departments took part in the plunge as well.

“We did it for entertainment value and we hung out with a great group of people,” Clark Police Captain Vincent Concina said. “We stayed in the water for over half an hour. The toughest part was walking back to the hotel in shorts only because the guys thought it would be funny!”

Just how cold does the water get?

“If you’re not someone who likes the cold, the cold water is pretty much on a whole new level,” Collins said. “No matter how cold or how mild of a day that you get, that water will always be cold. Last year, it was about 65°F, the water temperature was in the mid-40’s, and it was still pretty cold. If you can usually handle freezing weather, you’re pretty much a champion at it.”

Although many chose to plunge in their bathing suits, others dressed in costumes, pajamas, tutus and more, all for a good cause.

“Since I was little my family had been involved in the Special Olympics, every summer we volunteer at the Games and I do unified sports,” Clark teen Brooke Gallo, who participated with her parents, said. “So our family felt we should do the plunge as well to support New Jersey Special Olympics.”

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