A Will and A Way

92-year-old Champaign area resident, Lyle Cole, has unique dunk technique raising money for the Mohamet Polar Plunge….”

When Speech Pathologist and SOILL Family Ambassador, Kathleen Williams, wore her Law Enforcement Torch Run Polar Plunge hoodie on the job, she didn’t know that she had an admirer.  Then one day when 92-year-old Lyle Cole asked Kathleen how he could get a shirt like hers, the challenge was on.

Kathleen explained to Lyle that he would have to raise $100 for Special Olympics Illinois, AND that he would need to plunge into frigid water to earn his own hoodie.  Normally either one of those criteria may cause someone to take a pass, especially if you are a 92-year-old resident of a skilled nursing home.  After all, it is only a hoodie, right?  Wrong. It is a challenge that Lyle now takes on each year with a passion.

Emerson Hjort, Kathleen’s daughter whom is a Special Olympics Illinois athlete AND Global Messenger, has accompanied Kathleen to Lyle’s home and has met Lyle several times.  It is unknown if it is Emerson whom provided the motivation for Lyle to become a Polar Plunger, but he takes the challenge seriously.

Lyle starts in December to get to his first objective, which is to raise $100, and has done it for two years now.  But as any plunger knows, earning the money is often the easier part of meeting the two-part objective.  Now on to the plunge in frigid water to complete the task.

Some plungers dive right in.  Others go waist-deep.  Others get to their knees while splashing their hands in the water.  As for Lyle?  He plunges right down deep to the elbow.  It works!  The water is cold in his plunge bucket, but the warmth in Lyle’s heart may actually cause that water to steam someday.

Thanks, Lyle.  You’ve proven to us all that when there is a will, there definitely IS a way.

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