On Saturday, Jan. 25, Special Olympics Maryland, in consultation with the Maryland State Police, the Maryland Park Service and Natural Resources Police, canceled the MSP Polar Bear Plunge due to a combination of extreme conditions at Sandy Point State Park that were unprecedented in the 17-year history of the event.
I want to thank the thousands of plungers for the overwhelming support in the face of disappointment. I understand the implications of canceling an event of this magnitude that people have planned months in advance to attend. The passion for plunging into the frigid bay waters combined with the commitment to raise valuable funds and awareness for Special Olympics Maryland is the ultimate demonstration of support for our 6,500 athletes who participate year-round in 24 sport programs.
Thanks to the relentless efforts of our partners to mobilize and commit the necessary resources, we have been able to re-schedule the plunge for March 8. The MSP Polar Bear Plunge has evolved to represent everything that is good about Maryland. There are few places one can go where you witness the confluence of such a broad representation of Marylanders. Think about the combination of law enforcement agencies and officers, corporate support such as Aerotek, Constellation Energy and Carnival to name a few, community organizations like the Council of Ravens Roosts, American Legion and Knights of Columbus among others along with the greatest cross-section of Marylanders. We all come together in one place as a community to support an important group fellow Marylanders who happen to have an intellectual disability.
So thank you for creating this Maryland tradition and for demonstrating the power of people to create communities of dignity and respect across the state for individuals with intellectual disabilities. I hope to see you on the 8th.
Incidentally, if you haven't registered, there is still time, and if you have registered, you can still raise more money for Special Olympics Maryland. For more information, our website (plungemd.com) will remain open through the re-scheduled Polar Bear Plunge.
James C. Schmutz, Baltimore
The writer is president and CEO of Special Olympics Maryland.
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