Two area residents will endure freezing cold waters to benefit the Special Olympics; donations are requested
By Kristen Miller
Jumping into frigid waters was only something Sheri Arneson of Howard Lake had watched other people do.
This year, however, she has been coaxed into being a participant, rather than just a spectator, at the annual Polar Bear Plunge benefiting the Special Olympics of Minnesota.
Arneson joined an International Student Exchange group from Long Prairie made up of representatives and former host families like herself.
As a member of Dassel Church of Church, Arneson was asking for donations; each member needs to raise at least $75 for the plunge.
Dave Herring, the church’s worship leader, offered to take the plunge with her.
A North Carolina native, Herring had only heard about this extreme tradition through movies “and what people in the south joke about,” he said.
Since it benefits a worthy cause like the Special Olympics, Herring said, “If I can help do that, I don’t mind jumping in cold water.”
The duo will be taking the plunge Sunday, Feb. 27 in Alexandria on Lake Darling.
Arneson watched the group last year with her son, Jordan Jacobsma, a 2008 DC graduate. He suggested they both take the plunge this year.
“I’m excited and nervous,” Arneson said. “I’m more nervous as the day gets closer.”
This is the 14th year of the Polar Bear Plunge, which has grown from one lake to 13 different locations.
Last year, the combined plunges had more than 7,000 participants and raised $1.4 million.
Both Herring and Arneson are looking for donations to help them reach, or even surpass their goal of raising $75 for the plunge.
“So, if people can give us money, that would be awesome,” Herring said.
To donate, visit www.pledgemn.org, click on “support a plunger,” and enter the plunger.
Pledges for Herring can also be made at daveherring.net.