Associates Take the Plunge to Support Special Olympics


What better way to spend a day than plunging into freezing water during one of Minnesota’s coldest winters on record? Most of us would say a lot of things, but staff accountant Andrea Luck and warehouse & equipment administrator Randy Vath’s wife Julie decided to take the plunge again this year at the Special Olympics of Minnesota’s Polar Bear Plunge. They’re freezin’ for a reason, a very good one.

Some people support the Special Olympics because it’s a great organization. Others support it because it has impacted a loved one’s life. That’s the case for Randy and Julie Vath. Their six-year-old son Logan has Down Syndrome, and he’s become their inspiration to take the plunge. Julie jumped for the fifth year. Randy, who has participated for the last four years, had to sit this one out. The couple has always participated on Team Rochester Toyota with a good friend whose son also has Down Syndrome.

Andrea Luck, who’s participated for the last four years, made the plunge in White Bear Lake this year with Susie Q and her Crazy Crew, a large team that was the top fundraising team for the 2014 challenge state wide. Andrea competes because as an athlete herself she sees this as her way of supporting Special Olympians who have the fortitude and drive to be athletes. Before her first plunge, she had no idea what she was getting into and thought that what she was about to do was crazy. “It became a challenge,” Andrea said. “After I made the first plunge, I was hooked! It’s an adrenaline rush every time!”

In support of these employee efforts, the Opus Foundation has provided the Special Olympics with a $5000 grant to help support programming that includes an athlete leadership program, which provides Special Olympians the opportunity to build confidence and self-esteem through volunteer projects, speaking engagements and leadership trainings. Athletes learn to give back to their community, serve on boards and committees, coach teams and have jobs.

The first Minnesota Special Olympics Polar Bear Plunge was held in 1998. This year 17 plunges are being held throughout the state with 15,018 registered jumpers. These brave individuals have currently contributed just over $2.4 million to the Special Olympics this year alone.

Filed Under: Community Initiatives