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For Athlete Leader Jose Moreno, Special Olympics Illinois has helped him achieve – and even exceed his goals. Jose said he’s grateful for all the supporters who freely give their time and resources to the organization.

Jose started competing with Special Olympics Illinois in 2009 and competed in basketball, volleyball, floor hockey, and golf. Currently, Jose competes in bowling and Unified bocce. In 2011, he became a certified Athlete Leader.

Jose is also the Special Olympic Illinois Law Enforcement Torch Run Liaison. He said he loves talking to different police departments and raising awareness for Special Olympic Illinois athletes.

This year, Jose is the Virtual Plunge Coach for the Illinois Law Enforcement Torch Run’s Polar Plunge. As the Virtual Plunge Coach, Jose encourages warm-hearted Polar Plungers to reach their fundraising goals. His biggest piece of advice? “Don’t be afraid. Just have fun.”

If any Polar Plungers are still hesitant to Plunge, Jose suggests reaching out to an athlete from their local region. “I know many athletes who love to take the Plunge with people,” Jose added. “They’d be happy to go in with you!”

Jose said he’s grateful for all the participants in the 2023 Law Enforcement Torch Run Polar Plunge for Special Olympics Illinois. Without them, he said, he wouldn’t be where he is today. And now, Jose has a new, and bigger, goal.

“I was born 26 weeks premature,” Jose said. “One pound, six ounces. The doctors said I may not be able to talk or run. 39 years later, I’ve achieved all my goals. I’ve seen myself change from a shy athlete, and now I help other athletes who come to me for advice.”

“That’s my goal for 2023,” Jose continued. “Help out other athletes. Anything I can do for them.”

Want to help support athletes like Jose? Sign up for the 2023 Law Enforcement Torch Run Polar Plunge for Special Olympics Illinois. There are 24 Polar Plunges across the state, or you can Create Your Own Plunge. Find out more and sign up at plungeillinois.com.