After having to be rescheduled to Dec. 15 from its original date because of super storm Sandy, the Brookhaven Town Polar Plunge was held on Saturday at Cedar Beach in Mt. Sinai to support athletes competing in the Special Olympics.
Though the mood was festive with supporters rallying around the plungers and the good will generated by an event done for such a good cause, many took a moment to remember a human tragedy that occurred just a day before at an elementary school in Newtown; one people were still trying to get a grip on.
“We all have heavy hearts as we stand here today,” said Councilwoman, Jane Bonner, who spoke with newly elected Supervisor Ed Romaine at the event. She said despite the burden on everyone’s minds the Polar Plunge was an “uplifting cause.”
Bonner was echoing the words of Supervisor Romaine who said that Friday’s events remind us that, “not everything the world is good.”
“The water is cold but the hearts are warm,” he said.
A moment of silence was held to remember the victims of the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting.
The crowd gathered to watch the plungers seemed slightly smaller than usual due to the rescheduled date, but after Special Olympics athlete T.J. Timmons belted out the National Anthem four waves of bathers lined up make the mad dash into the Long Island Sound. The water was reportedly a goose-pimple inducing 52 degrees at the time of the plunge around noon.
Smithtown residents Mike Mastropaolo, Laura Mulstay, Tara Dietz and Kerri Woerner were there for their first plunge saying it was on their bucket list of things to do.
“And it’s a good cause,” Woerner said.
Donning his Captain America suit, Jim Chichester, of Medford, said that he was brave enough to take the plunge. He tours the region under the guise of Captain America of Suffolk going to charity events to support various causes.
“If you think this is a special event costume then every day is a special event,” said a man who accompanied Chichester with a video camera to capture that particular day’s event.
Chichester wasn’t the only costumed character at the event. There was a woman dressed as a Christmas Tree, two pumpkin-clad fellows, a bear, a wolf, a penguin and an elf. The Dark Side of the Force was also represented by two Stormtroopers and Darth Vader. Plunger Tommy Roach - last year's top fundraiser for the Town - came decked out in Santa-esque gear for his jump. This year's Polar Plunge raised over $65,000.
Stephanie Clahane was there with her son Michael to do the jump. This is the third year in a row (since the Polar Plunge’s inception) that the Mt. Sinai resident has done the plunge. Clahane said she’s inspired to take on the chilly waters of the Sound because she is a special education teacher in East Islip.
“I’m doing it for them,” she said.
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