The Boundary County Penguin Plunge
By Donna Capurso, Patriot Journalist
On Saturday, March 17th, a number of brave souls gathered at the dock at the Search and Rescue building on the Kootenai River in Bonners Ferry to take the Penguin Plunge in the ice cold river to raise money for Special Olympics Idaho. The mission of Special Olympics is “to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. This gives them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.” For more information on Special Olympics Idaho, go to: https://www.idso.org/public
Boundary County Sheriff Dave Kramer started the event by turning the water green where the participants would be plunging into the river. He explained about the Search and Rescue divers being in the water to ensure the safety of the folks jumping off the dock and there were additional safety precautions with several men on the dock to assist any plungers that might need help. A hot tub was waiting for anyone wanting to warm up after their plunge.
The event began and the sheriff announced each and every Penguin Plunger’s name or group before they jumped. Many were in St. Patrick’s Day costumes which added to the fun of this event. The last plungers were four deputies that jumped from the back of the boat in uniform.
Ladies served chili dogs to those who wanted something to eat and there was a myriad of cookies as well.
A special guest announced the various winners of best costumes, spirit award, judge’s choice and who raised the most money. Her name is Rebecca Dussault who was a 2006 winter Olympian for the United States’ cross country ski team. She has competed in the World Championships of four different sports on three continents. Besides being a world class multi-sport athlete, she is also a wife and a mother of five sporty children. In 2010 Rebecca went on to become the first non-European ever to win the Winter Triathlon World Championship. As World Champion she had to sing the U.S. national anthem from the top of the podium herself as the organizers did not have a soundtrack due to a lack of ever expecting an American athlete to win. Thank you Rebecca for assisting in this year’s Boundary County Penguin Plunge.
Event judges also included Boundary County Commissioner Dan Dinning, Bonners Ferry City Councilman Rick Alonzo, Magistrate Judge Tera Harden, Haley Wenk from Distinguished Young Women, Dennis Dinning from the Boundary Community Hospital Board and Vice Chair of the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho Councilwoman Angela Cooper.
The following participants were recognized with a certificate from Rebecca Dussault:
3rd place costume: South Boundary Fire Department
2nd place costume: Kootenai Rheumatology
1st place costume: Marciavee Cossette
Team Spirit Winners: Distinguished Young Women
Spirit Winner: Tom the flying eagle
Judge’s Choice: Big Time Scorers
Most Money Raised: South Boundary Fire Chief Tony Rohrwasser
Sheriff Dave believes that “this year was the most that we ever raised. At the event we collected $3,234 in cash and checks, and then Special Olympics Idaho said that for online donations we had $4,598 for a total raised of $7,832. This amount does not include all of the in kind donations of prizes, food, silent auction items etc., which I believe will amount to about $1000 in donated goods.” He said that he and the Penguin Plunge planning team are very thankful for all the donations and community participation this year.
The pictures are of those participating in this year’s Penguin Plunge.
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