Facing temperatures in the middle 40s and wind gusts in excess of 25 mph Saturday morning, about 70 costumed people — mostly members of Iowa Quad-City law enforcement agencies — dove or ran willingly into the frigid waters at Davenport’s West Lake Park for the annual Polar Plunge to raise money for Special Olympics.
Lindsay Eastin of Special Olympics Iowa said 12 teams raised about $10,000 through pledges. The Davenport plunge was one of 13 held statewide that raise about $250,000 a year, she added.
Nancy Scherler, a paralegal, and five others from the Scott County Attorney's Office made up one team. They changed into black judges' robes and white wigs before splashing through the chilly waters far enough to "high 5" the safety divers who are in the water in case of emergency. The group then quickly returned to the beach and made a beeline for the warming tent.
“Two people I know have special needs children and they’re doing a great job, but there’s a lot more out there and we’re lucky enough to help,” Scherler said.
In addition to raising money for Special Olympics, the teams vie for most creative costume.