Former Mass. U.S. senator Scott Brown, a longtime summer resident of Rye, joined the Buckley's Frozen Seamen team during Sunday's 15th annual Penguin Plunge to benefit Special Olympics New Hampshire. (GRETYL MACALASTER PHOTO)
Penguin Plunge raises $600,000 over weekend
But once word got out about his challenge, donations started coming in. On Sunday, Kimball got his chance to jump into the frigid waters of the Atlantic. At the event's after-party in the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom, Kimball said he was grateful to all of the people who came forward to help him, and was honored to participate.
Kimball is a Special Olympian and participates in basketball, golf, bowling and track and field events.
Kimball's basketball coach, John Connors, said he and other coaches were not aware of Kimball's challenge raising money this year until they read about in the Union Leader. They're glad people pitched in to help Kimball.
More than $600,000 was raised over the weekend for Special Olympics New Hampshire and individual Special Olympics teams in communities throughout the state through both Sunday's Penguin Plunge and Saturday's 6th annual High School Plunge, which by itself raised more than $142,000.
Lister got involved with Special Olympics 38 years ago when he served as a teacher in the Portsmouth School District.
He said when the group first decided to try the Penguin Plunge fundraiser, about 38 people took the plunge. They got in and got out of the water before police came to tell them to do so.
This year, the air temperature exceeded water temperature by about 10 degrees — 47 degrees compared to 38 degrees.
The Frozen Sections team of Keene raised about $29,000 and had about 34 plungers in Sunday's event.
Downey Page of Keene has been with the team for seven years.
"Flock leader" Dan Rath has been participating for 13 years after his wife saw a commercial for the event and realized what a perfect match it was for him.
The Penguin Plunge is the single largest fundraiser for SONH and has brought in more than $5.6 million in 15 years.