Costumed characters take Polar Plunge for Special Olympics

By Lauren Abdel-Razzaq - The Detroit News

Photo Credit: Todd McInturf / The Detroit News - Bozenna Johnson, 32, of Sylvan Lake, jumps off the dock. She is a fourth-grade teacher at Edmonson Elementary in Madison Heights.

Sylvan Lake - Joe Quick of Rochester Hills was prepared to do whatever it took to raise money for Special Olympics Michigan, going so far as to take a January plunge into Sylvan Lake while wearing a red wig, bikini top, and green tail a la Ariel from "The Little Mermaid."

"I'm very fortunate my father King Triton allowed me to surface," said Quick, playing up his mermaid character. "He knew it was for a good cause."

Quick was one of 30 Polar Plunge participants who jumped into the 34 degree water at the Sylvan Lake Community Center on Saturday to raise more than $5,000 for the organization.

At the event, the first for the city and for Oakland County, participants were encouraged to wear costumes and some pulled out all the stops. They jumped in one by one from a dock into water about four feet deep. Reactions ranged from faces frozen with surprise to outright screaming in shock.

Together, they helped contribute to the $1 million goal Special Olympics Michigan has set for raising this year through 28 Polar Plunges across the state.

Waterford's Kevin McCort, who works for sponsor Real Estate One, decided to combine two causes: He pledged and plunged for Special Olympics and wore pink for his mother, Joye, who died of breast cancer. He said he didn't think the unseasonably warm weather - with temperatures in the 60s - would make the jump any easier.

"The warmer it is outside, the more contrast there is to the water temperature, but I guess it won't be as cold as it could be when I get out."

Colin Consiglio, a Sylvan Lake police officer and organizer of the event, was doing his second plunge.

"I said I'd be happy with $2,000 to $3,000 and as it sits now, we've already surpassed that," he said before the jumpers took to the water.

Afterward, as he surfaced from the icy water in his uniform, he was all smiles.

"This would definitely be the worst," he said.


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