Pittsburgh Polar Plunge raises funds for Special Olympics
December 12, 2016 12:00 AM
Mike Bovino and Joel Rosenthal at Stage AE for the Friday Night Splash party, part of the Pittsburgh Polar Plunge for Special Olympics.
Special Olympics 2016 athlete ambassador Kristen Lindsey with acting Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott Schubert.
Sixteen super plungers are honored Friday at Stage AE during the Friday Night Splash party. They raised $80,000 for Special Olympics and the Pittsburgh Polar Plunge.
Howard Loevner, left, Mark Horvitz and Joey Horvitz at Stage AE for the Friday Night Splash party, part of the Pittsburgh Polar Plunge for Special Olympics.
From left, Judy and John Verbanic with Joy and Chris Weiss at Stage AE for the Friday Night Splash party, part of the Pittsburgh Polar Plunge for Special Olympics.
Pittsburgh Polar Plunge participants get out of the chilly Ohio River on the North Side on Saturday during the fundraiser for Special Olympics.
By Kevin Kirkland / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Kristen Lindsey says she swims like a barracuda, but the Special Olympics 2016 athlete ambassador was moving more like a penguin Saturday as more than 900 people headed into the icy Ohio River for the Pittsburgh Polar Plunge.
The 41-year-old Butler woman has won 158 gold medals in swimming over 30 years of competitions. On Friday, she inspired 16 super plungers who repeatedly jumped into two unheated pools and collectively brought in $80,000 of the $350,000 total raised during the two-day event.
Later, inside Stage AE, plungers and friends enjoyed warmth, food and drinks at the Friday Night Splash party. Joel Rosenthal of Schneider Downs & Co. (with Kate) plunged for the first time with his University of Michigan roommate, Mike Bovino, senior advisor with Special Olympics Pennsylvania. “Jumping in was OK,” Mr. Rosenthal said. “It’s getting out that’s bad!”
It was all for a good cause — covering athletes’ costs — as Special Olympics board member Chris Weiss of Aerotek (with Joy), welcomed incoming board chairman John Verbanic (with Judy).
Like many volunteers, Mr. Verbanic and Howard Loevner began working with the charity in college. Mr. Loevner enlisted his friend, Mark Horvitz (with son Joey), and Mark Blohm, both of Pool City, to supply above-ground pools for the super plungers. “This is as rewarding as the day is long,” Mr. Blohm said. Leading the plungers was acting Pittsburgh police Chief Scott Schubert (with Lynn), always among the biggest fundraisers.
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