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Plunge more than just special

Pauls Valley Daily Democrat - 3/18/2020

Mar. 11--Special wasn't just a word -- it was a whole bunch of leaps into chilly water during a Pauls Valley event this past weekend to help a good cause.

It was heartfelt for sure as dozens came from all over the region to take part in what's called a Polar Plunge.

The special gathering this past Saturday at Pauls Valley's outdoor water park was all about helping Special Olympic athletes here in Garvin County and throughout the state.

Derek Cain, vice president of the Special Olympics of Oklahoma, said this was his fourth plunge to attend out of the 14 held this season all over the state.

Cain says he likes seeing the volunteers and athletes gather for events of this kind.

"I enjoy it," he said. "It's awesome to get out and see the volunteers. These volunteers are really the special ones."

But the ones really tugging at the heart strings are all the youngsters taking part in so many Special Olympics events.

"That's what keeps me coming back," Cain said about these young athletes.

"I started as a volunteer, and the athletes are contagious. They're fun to be around, and they are the ones who put life in perspective."

He's quick to add half of the money raised at the plunge in Pauls Valley will go to the Special Olympics of Oklahoma, while the rest stays right in this region directly benefiting the special athletes here.

Law enforcement from all around the area was again out in full force, from Pauls Valley to Elmore City to Ada and beyond, offering their support of the event.

"I have family, known people in the community touched by Special Olympics ever since I've been in law enforcement," said Tracy Jackson, assistant police chief in Ada, about why he not only supports the event but joins his fellow officers in taking the plunge into the water, which happened to be around 54 degrees at the time of the dives on the morning of March 7.

"It's a commitment for me and the Ada Police Department. Ada is committed to helping the Special Olympics."

Closer to home, Chaz Royse and his fellow members of the Nasty Bastards Riding Club, a motorcycle group in Pauls Valley, were there to support the plunge.

"It's easy to give money; you might as well go for it and get in the water," Royse said moments before the big splash.

"We try to do what we can to help. It's going to be cold but it's for a good cause."

Royse's father, Dale Royse, was the oldest participant in this plunge at 64 years old. At a mere eight years old Eli Joyner was the youngest.

Further from home was Harvey Hogue, who was part of a contingent coming to represent Byng Schools.

"We're here to help the kids," Hogue said.

"I see them when they're competing and it brings me so joy."

Coming all the way from Antlers were Brittany and Bryce Dillard, who both took the splash to support the cause. They also took home a "golden plunger" award for their costumes.

Like many times in the past Josh Brown of PV was recognized as the individual raising the most money, more than $10,000, while a big group from the local Walmart Distribution Center got the organizational honor.

As for the next local Special Olympics event, a regional track meet is scheduled for April 1 at Pauls Valley's football stadium.

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(c)2020 the Pauls Valley Daily Democrat (Pauls Valley, Okla.)

Visit the Pauls Valley Daily Democrat (Pauls Valley, Okla.) at www.paulsvalleydailydemocrat.com

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