Super Plunge Celebrates 15 Years of Jumping into Icy Waters
February 21st at 1:00 p.m. sharp, a group of 46 SUPER Plungers began the first of 24 icy dips into Lake Michigan over 24 hours, all to benefit the athletes of Special Olympics Illinois.
year, the SUPER Plunge celebrates its 15th year of bringing individuals – from
all walks of life – together for one common cause. Among the group was a
first-time SUPER Plunger, Director of Illinois State Police, Brendan Kelly, and
as well as longtime SUPER Plungers Mary Pocuis and Mike McDermott.
most, this event may seem unbearable or impossible, but for Brendan, Mary, and
Mike, it is just another way to give back to the athletes.
“The men and women who serve
in the Illinois State Police believe in the best of humanity and lifting people
up, so supporting Special Olympics Illinois is a natural fit,” said Director Kelly.
Director Kelly and his team are looking forward
to continuing to SUPER Plunge next year and for years to come. They hope to
become as experienced as Mary and Mike, who have been plunging since the
event’s inception, 15 years ago.
Mary, the experience is a subtle reminder of why continuing to plunge is so
important. “We do crazy things, for all
the right reasons,” said Mary. “It’s about the athletes that we serve here in
a leg leader for DuPage County, Mary tries to gain as much continued support as
possible from her fellow officers. She does not ask her fellow officers to
support something she would not do herself.
As of the 2020 SUPER Plunge, Mary and Mike’s warm
hearts have taken 360 plunges over 15 years – a record here in Illinois.
“I would have never stayed this long
without the great people involved in the Torch Run that keep us motivated to
jump in the freezing lake,” said Mike.
After 24 hours of plunging into ice-cold water,
morale can be low, but not for this group. They pulled through until the end,
raising over $131,000 with 46 total SUPER plungers. The
SUPER Plunge could not have been a success without the help of many contributors,
including Statewide-presenting sponsor, GEICO.
As a result of support from first-time plungers
like Brendan and long-time plungers like Mike and Mary, the SUPER Plunge has
had continued success. On the 24th plunge, Mary turned to Mike and said, “I’m
coming back next year, and so are you!”
IDOC Torch of Cash
The Illinois Department of Corrections is partnering with Special Olympics Illinois to host Law Enforcement Torch Run Torch of Cash Raffles at their various facilities.
Illinois Department of Correction facilities interested in hosting a Torch of Cash Raffle must apply for a raffle license at their local city hall. The License should be secured under the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Illinois name, NOT IDOC. Please contact your local government to determine the steps to acquire a raffle license in your municipality.
Once the raffle license is approved, please follow the below steps when conducting your raffle. Click here to download the Payout Check-List.
Illinois Department of Corrections Torch of Cash Raffle Process
Step 1 – Secure Raffle License
IDOC Liaison must apply and be approved for a Raffle License in the municipality they are hosting the drawing in. Raffle license should be requested under the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Illinois name. Special Olympics EIN #: 36-2922811
IDOC facility will host a weekly raffle until a winner is selected. Money raised via raffle sales should be submitted to Special Olympics Illinois via this form each month. Please note you must indicate Torch of Cash in the event name area at the bottom of the form. Torch of Cash donations will not be credited to your department total until the conclusion of the raffle.
Step 4 – Update Special Olympics Illinois each week
IDOC facility liaison must update Special Olympics Illinois of the raffle progress each week via this online form.
Step 5 – Select Winner and Follow Payout Policy
Payment will be mailed within 35 business days of Special Olympics Illinois receiving all completed payout documentation (approximately 40 days from the raffle drawing date).
Payouts less than $600
Inform winner to allow 30 days to receive their payout from Special Olympics Illinois
Calling All Law Enforcement Personnel with Special Olympics Athletes in Family
The Illinois Law Enforcement Torch Run and Special Olympics Illinois Families Committee are looking to identify law enforcement personnel who have a family member with an intellectual disability and who would be willing to share their story.
“We are trying to identify people who have ties as both a Special Olympics family member and member of the law enforcement community,” said Katie Herriott, SOILL Director of Development-Torch Run. “We know there are many law enforcement officers in Illinois who have a relative currently involved or who could be involved in the program, but we don’t know their story yet.”
One such family is the Kirsch family of Shorewood. Steve is a Deputy for the Will County Sheriff’s Police whose daughter competes in Special Olympics through Special Connections. Steve, along with his wife Chris, are the first LETR Family Liaisons and serve on both the Family and LETR State Committees.
“We have been asked many times why we are involved with Special Olympics Illinois and our answer is always ‘How could we not be?’ ” said Chris Kirsch. “Our experiences with SOILL have been incredible! Time and time again we have seen how Special Olympics has changed the participants in immeasurable ways, especially our daughter, Rikki. We feel very strongly about giving back both at local events and at a state level.”
The Kirsches see their involvement with the Law Enforcement Torch Run as an extension of their involvement with Special Olympics that provides them with source of support and inspiration. “Having a police officer and a Special Olympics athlete means we have two uniquely inspiring ‘families.’ We are able to relate to officers and directly share how their efforts impact the athletes.”
The Kirsches encourage all law enforcement families with Special Olympics athletes – whether son/daughter, sister/brother, aunt/uncle, cousin – in their families to share the story and help us inspire others.
If you’re interested in sharing your law enforcement/Special Olympics family story with us, please contact the Kirsches, Katie Herriott or Karen Milligan, Director of Families and Athlete Leadership Program. View a flyer on the Law Enforcement Torch Run Family Liaison program.
TR Event Notification Form
What is the Truck Convoy?
The Truck Convoy is a fundraising and awareness event that creates a unique partnership between law enforcement and the trucking industry to raise funds for Special Olympics so athletes can continue to train in year-round sports activities. Officers involved in the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics have made the Truck Convoy one of their many annual signature events in Illinois!
The Illinois Convoys
Special Olympics Illinois and the Illinois Law Enforcement Torch Run will partner up in 2020 to host two Truck Convoy events! (Please note, the Sears Centre Truck Convoy has been canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions). Our two locations include Tinley Park, and Troy IL. Details and dates for the Truck Convoy can be found below:
History of the Truck Convoy
The Truck Convoy was conceived in 2001 by Cpl. Norm Schneiderhan, special project coordinator for the Orange County Sheriff’s Office in Florida. Schneiderhan, who drove a truck for about three years in his father’s trucking company before he entered the field of law enforcement, launched the event for Special Olympics as a way to call attention to the organization among truckers.
For more information on the Truck Convoy, contact Katie Risley at 309-533-3725.