April 3, 2016

Sgt. Peter Howard                                              Sharon Pelkey                                Ronald or Jennifer Magas         

Monroe Police Department                                Special Olympics CT                    Magas Media Consultants, LLC

Phone: 203-261-3622                                           Phone: 203-230-1201 ext. 264         Phone: 203-445-8981

E-mail                     Email                 Email (the “0” in “of” is a zero) 

FOLLOW UP – PLUNGE at the PARK Makes a big splash for special olympics, APRIL 2nd

On a grey, overcast 50 degree Saturday morning, families, friends, and businesses of the greater Monroe area turned out for Monroe Police Department’s 6th annual penguin Plunge at the Park. Not even a light drizzle could keep more than 81 brave and loyal penguins from diving into the frigid water of Great Hollow Lake. Monroe's police, fire and EMS personnel and Special Olympics Connecticut co-sponsored this year's 6th annual event to raise over $12,000 (final count pending) in funds for the state's athletes with special needs. Those who raised money through sponsors, but did not brave the water, had the option of purchasing and wearing a unique yellow "I Chickened Out" T-shirt to show their support.

Sgt. Pete Howard led police in organizing the event again this year and was delighted with the turnout. Each year the plunge generates more and more support, and today this growing event was able to meet - and exceed - its goal of $10,000. The Monroe Police Department also gave an informative and entertaining K-9 demonstration, in which Officer McAulay and K-9 Murphy, the German shepherd, performed everything from simple obedience exercises, to finding hidden narcotics, and even apprehending a “criminal”- a fellow officer in a Kevlar suit- much to the crowd’s delight.

This year actor and retired CT Firefighter Guy A. Fortt (a.k.a. The AARP’s “Fearless at 50 Guy”) participated in the Plunge at the Park. Fortt has appeared on Broadway, the big screen, and most recently in a Superbowl ad and was glad to join the cause. “As a professional firefighter I have always been encouraged to save lives and change lives. The police and fire service personnel work together for the goodness of humanity. That's what I do. The Special Olympics are dear to my heart because of the perseverance of the participants and how they truly get after it.” Fortt was the recipient of one of the “Most Spirited” awards – most spirited ex-firefighter!

At one o'clock, First Selectman Steve Vavrek promptly started the countdown and a crowd of people clad in bathing suits, costumes, (including a family in penguin suits) ran into the water, before immediately splashing around as they scrambled back to the beach to wrap themselves up in the warmth of their towels. Families and friends excitedly cheered on the 81+ courageous plungers, which included the entire Masuk High School Football Team.

Since 2010, Pete Carroll of IBEW and the Monroe Rotary Club have been major sponsors of the event, and they have truly helped to raise awareness for the cause and to make the event such a success each year. Many businesses graciously donated monetary contributions, food and beverages, services and family friendly items for the participant awards. Spectators enjoyed music provided by DJ Johnny Jay and watching an egg toss on the beach. Plungers received unique one-of-a-kind penguin plunge pins. Everyone enjoyed coffee and hot chocolate from Dunkin’ Donuts, chicken soup from Soup Thyme, chicken wings from Tavern, hot dogs, pasta, pizza, and baked goods. Guy Fortt announced and awarded prizes for best high-school spirit, largest team, winner of the egg toss, adult with the most Plunge spirit, child with the most Plunge spirit, and more.

Below are photos (with captions) from the event and a list of those who those who provided monetary donations, items, food/beverages, or services. More information and photos are available on the “Monroe Plunge Connecticut” Facebook page and Twitter page @CTPolarPlunge. Check out this video of the event from Hello Me Films:

If you have any questions, feel free to contact Sgt. Peter Howard, Monroe Police Department at 203-261-3622 or via e-mail at Many thanks for your time and consideration.