Saturday’s plunge in Town Square raises more than $4,000 for Special Olympics
Susan McDaniel Havre Daily News email@example.com
“Folks, get ready to plunge!” With those words Havre Police Officer Derek Mahlum sent the volunteers to give their all for Special Olympics Montana in the first-ever Subzero Super Hero Plunge at Town Square in Havre Saturday afternoon. Although the wind blew a little briskly, if they went straight from the ice water into the hot tub or showers most didn’t think the wind added to the chill. Plumbing problems had rendered the first hot tub donated to the cause inoperable and so decontamination tents were donated by the Havre Fire Department to serve as changing rooms. Each was equipped with a shower. Then in the last days, a second hot tub was donated by a business in Great Falls and a trip was made Thursday to bring it back for the plunge. “The showers are there if they don’t want to use the tub, so it worked out good,” Havre Police captain Stan Martin said. The turnout was good for the first annual event with the organizers calling it a success for a first time undertaking. “Everything is going smooth for the first annual. The turnout is becoming impressive, I think we will be all right. Derek has just done an excellent job,” Martin said. “This is wonderful, there are so many people out here, just in support of Special Olympics and they are creating awareness of Special Olympics in the area and that is what’s awesome. Derek Mahlum is great, he took a very big thing under his belt,” Shaylee Lewis, area director of the Special Olympics said. Jumpers varied from singles to groups representing their businesses or jobs to jumping just for the good of the cause. Many have Personal relationships with the athletes.
“My future brother-in-law is a Special OlympianCraig Parsons. I read about it and I told my fiance that I had to do that. So I went around and raised some money, I set a goal of $250 and raised $300. It’s a great cause and should be a lot of fun,” jumper Kevin Tweeten said. “The reason I am jumping today is for Marie, Fred and all the guys that participate in Special Olympics, I work with them on a daily basis at Havre Day Activity Center,” Elvis aka Jarom Crebs said. Other jumpers associated with Havre Day Activity Center included Jessica Kinsella and KatieBeth Courtnage dressed in matching Spider-Man costumes and Paul Krezelak, dressed as Sponge Bob Squarepants, who jumped with his brother, KOJM/KPQX news director Justin Krezelak. “I’ve worked with Havre day activity center for about seven years total, so I am doing it for them the athletes and other people made me do it, so...” Paul Krezelak said. Among jumpers representing local businesses were Shannon Howland, dressed in a green leprechaun suit, jumping for Klabzuba Oil & Gas and Les Odegard and Greg Lynnes jumping for Independence Bank of Havre. “Our fellow employees thought that this would be a good fundraiser and they talked us into raising the money to do this to support the Special Olympics, Odegard said. “I am a banker so I wore my banker suit. Plus a Seuss hat, so I am going to think’ this water warm.” Representing Havre High School was principal Jim Donovan and vice-principal Jerry Vandersloot. “Officer Mahlum was walking through my office and he handed me a flyer and said Here you ought to do this.’ so then I challenged Mr. Donovan to see who could raise the most money. We hit the kids up for change coming in from lunch and that sort of thing. Mr. Donovan was the winner,” Vandersloot said. “The kids at the high school, they are the ones who raised all the money,” Donovan said. “The custodians set buckets out at noon, and the kids would put their change in and it didn’t take them but two days to make plenty. So here we are.” The Havre Police Department was well represented with Chief Mike Barthel, Assistant Chief George Tate and Captain Stan Martin taking the first plunge of the day. Many more representatives of local law enforcement and emergency service agencies followed the first three into the icy pool. Steve Bowman from the Border Patrol dressed for the plunge in a costume he described as part border patrol uniform and part being very creative. “La Migre Man, it’s what they call border patrol agents on the Mexican Border, migre, it’s short for immigration,” Bowman said. “So I am La Migre Man.” R. J. Juers and Buck Franklin from the Hill County Detention Center jumped in as a team, causing what was probably the largest wave of the day. “I’m just trying to raise money the best I can. Trying to help the Special Olympics this year,” Juers said before jumping. “My family is going to come and watch me, they were the ones who donated for me to do it,” Franklin added. Those who could still speak after the plunge said things such as “I tried to get an egg but I just couldn’t stand it anymore.” and “That was the worst thing I have ever done to myself in my life.’ Those who could no longer speak coherently uttered things such as “Holy, cold” or “Oh my,” many just made noises Wowwee! Or Arrrggg! When asked if the day and the icy plunge had lived up to his expectations, Officer Mahlum replied, “It’ been excellent.”