Despite the cold temperature of Lake Sara, many people turned up at the 2017 Law Enforcement Torch Run Polar Plunge. The Plunge was held on Saturday, March 4th and the funds raised benefited the Special Olympics athletes in Clark, Clay, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, Douglas, Edgar, Effingham, Jasper, Lawrence, Richland, and Shelby Counties (District 9).
For the past 18 years, the Law Enforcement Torch Run Polar Plunge has been held to raise funds for the Special Olympics Illinois. Over these years, $16.4 million has been raised, $1.9 million in 2016 alone. At Saturday’s Polar Plunge it was announced that the Plungers for District 9 had raised $51,841. The funds that have been raised the past 18 years have benefited more than 22,000 Special Olympics athletes and more than 20,000 Young Athletes in the State of Illinois.
The Law Enforcement Torch Run Polar Plunge was brought to Effingham in 2004. Since then, many local residents have taken the Plunge to show their support for the Special Olympics athletes. Among these Plungers is the Hagen family. Nate and Vicky Hagen along with their three boys Patrick, Brandt, and Jarrett marked their 10th year participating in the Polar Plunge on Saturday. The Hagen’s took their first Polar Plunge in 2007 when their son and Special Olympics athlete, Patrick, was 9 years old.
The Law Enforcement Torch Run will be held this summer as Illinois police officers carry the “Flame of Hope” to the State Summer Games in Normal, Illinois.