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Making a big splash for a good cause

 

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People were lined up behind a pool of frigid water Saturday afternoon, waiting for their names to be calledf. One by one, with little reluctance, they jumped into the ice-filled water to the applause of a large crowd gathered around to encourage friends and family. The people were "freezin' for a reason,"during the 4th Annual Super Hero Plunge in Town Square, the largest fundraiser for Montana Special Olympics. In the middle of all the laughter, though, came a reminder of what it was all about. After the national anthem, Special Olympian Jeffrey Carlson recited the athletes' pledge, as participants joined in: "Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt." All of the money will stay in Montana; 60 percent stays in Hill County. The Havre sector of the U.S. Border Patrol collected $3,800 by themselves. Each of the participants had a reason for doing their freezin,' but most said they just wanted to help an organization they believe in. And they were encouraged by friends and family. "Everybody in the crowd has a camera, so I will give them a good photo," laughed Havre Police Officer Dan Waldron. Waldron, wearing a black cape, said fel low of f icer Derek Mahlum was responsible for convincing him to jump in the ice water. "I've got to help support our department and the Special Olympics," he said. "We've got to do our part to help out the community," said Randy Christofferson, who, with his brother, raised $200. "I'm the area director for Special Olympics, so I try to do it every year," said Shaylee Lewis, who explained that if she convinces others to jump, she should as well. Saturday's weather, she said, "was a blessing." It was one of the warmest days of the year. The Special Olympics has done a lot, she said. Developmentally disabled people have confidence in themselves from the lessons they learned, and the general population is a lot more understanding of disabled people, she said. The Rutledge family was attired in shining gold stars for the festivities, representing the Rocky Boy Shining Stars Special Olympics team. "My mother jumped two years ago, and it looked like fun," said 9-year-old Andrea Rutledge. "So last year, I decided to jump." Her mother, Kristy Rutledge, joined in Saturday's jump. She is the coach of the Rocky Boy Shining Stars. "It's a lot of fun," said 4-year-old Lance Rutledge. Lance, the youngest participant, jumped in with hismom and sister, but landed in the arms of a search-and-rescue team member.

 
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