TAHLEQUAH — The Cherokee Nation is inviting all law enforcement agencies, organizations, clubs and individuals to take part in the annual Polar Bear Plunge for Special Olympics, set for 11 a.m. Feb. 17 at Arrowhead-Thunderbird Resort.

“The Cherokee Nation is proud to be a part of the Polar Bear Plunge,” said Chad Smith, Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation. “It is important to support organizations that work to enhance the lives of others. Last year the Cherokee Nation Marshal Service was the top fund-raising group in Oklahoma. This year we would like to challenge other groups to take part in this fund-raising event in an effort to support the Special Olympics.”

The Polar Bear Plunge is a fund-raising dare made to an individual or group, challenging them to dive into a cold body of water in order to raise money for Special Olympics. Each participant collects pledges from family, friends and businesses in the hopes of raising funds for the local program. Then, in order to earn those pledges, participants “take the plunge” into the cold water of the Illinois River to benefit Special Olympics.

“The Cherokee Nation Marshal Service has been involved in the Polar Plunge for several years,” said Derek Cain, Development Director for Oklahoma Special Olympics. “They have been the top fund-raising law enforcement agency the last couple years. We hope that more law enforcement agencies will come out and give the Marshals a run for their money.”

Plungers must collect a “bear” minimum of $25 to participate. In addition, all parties must sign a waiver the day of the event. Participants under 18 must have a waiver signed by a parent or guardian. All pledges must be turned in prior to or on the day of the event.

This year’s event will include a Polar Tug of War contest for groups who are leery of jumping into the frigid waters. Groups can forms teams of 10 participants to compete in the tug of war contest across the Illinois River. Only the strong will stay dry. Each participant is responsible for raising at least $25, and the winning teams will have bragging rights for the year.

Prizes will be awarded to the top fund-raiser, top fund-raising group, best costume, oldest plunger, youngest plunger and Polar Tug winners.

For information or to register: Brenda Spears, 456-0458; or Debbie Winburn, 869-2216.

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