Participants brave the chilly wind, freezing water for Special Olympics RI

Left to right: Tony Petrarca, Yianni Kourakis, Special Olympic Hall of Famer Henry Moretti, and Mike Montecalvo (March 5, 2017)

NARRAGANSETT, R.I. (WPRI) – It was a chilly Sunday morning in March, but that didn’t stop this group from taking a dip in the cold ocean water for a good cause.

The 10th annual Special Olympics Torch Run Plunge took place at noon at Salty Brine Beach in Narragansett.

WPRI-12 and Fox Providence are proud sponsors of the yearly event. Chief Meteorologist Tony Petrarca, Anchor Mike Montecalvo, and Sports Director Yianni Kourakis accompanied participants by taking the plunge for another year.

“We have donors, we have athletes, we have police, fire, corrections, we have super plungers,” said Special Olympics Rhode Island CEO Dennis DeJesus of Sunday’s participants.

In addition to the brave participants taking the cold plunge at noon, there are another group of “Super Plungers” who are there to plunge once an hour, every hour, for 24 hours. These participants aim to increase awareness and funding for the main Torch Run Plunge. Special Olympics Rhode Island is the only New England Program that sponsors a super plunge. These “Super Plungers” raised over $85,000 dollars.

“The temperatures were in the single digits, the wind chills were below zero, let’s here it for the super plungers!” Meteorologist Tony Petrarca said of the conditions.

As of 4 p.m., hours after the event, over $125,000 dollars had been raised by all plungers for Special Olympics Rhode Island. Specials Olympics RI athletes don’t have to pay to compete, so huge fundraising days like Sunday make the mission possible.

“We have 3,400 athletes. It is incumbent upon us to get out and raise in excess of $1.5 million, to support year-round training and athletic competition from January through December.”