By Chris Rotolo |
RUMSON – It’s the smiles that have remained vivid in his mind.
According to Rumson Police Chief Scott Paterson, the outpouring of pride and joy he’s seen displayed by Special Olympics athletes and their families are what have inspired him to take an active role in fundraising for the organization, an effort he’ll continue on Saturday, Feb. 24 at the Special Olympics New Jersey Polar Plunge in Seaside.
“Having the opportunity to meet with some of the families and interact with the Olympians over the years, you begin to understand what it means to them to be able to compete, and just how important the Special Olympics really are,” Patterson said of the organization, which is the world’s largest sports institution for children and adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities.
“Seeing the smiles on their faces and how much these kids get out of the experience, not to mention how far the money raised really goes, it’s incredibly rewarding to be able to use your platform to do good for others,” he said.
Paterson will almost certainly have those ear-to-ear smiles on his mind come the end of February, as his own grin is sure to fade once he takes a dip into New Jersey’s frigid coastal waters. But it’s a price he’s willing to pay for a cause near and dear to his heart.
“The Polar Plunge is something that has helped us create some momentum, in terms of generating awareness and fundraising for an incredible organization and the athletes and families they serve,” Paterson said of Seaside Polar Bear Plunge, which will enter its 25th year at the 2018 event.
In 2016 Patterson set a fundraising goal of $10,000, but two years later that momentum has allowed the chief to collect nearly $21,000 in donations through an online fundraising campaign with more than a month to go before he takes the plunge.
“I can’t say enough about the generosity of the people of Rumson. They’ve been unbelievable,” Paterson said. “I could not have raised this much money so far if not for their generosity. It speaks volumes about the type of people we have living in our community.”
OTHER LOCAL GROUPS TAKE ACTION
Paterson currently stands as the top individual fundraiser for the Special Olympics New Jersey Polar Plunge in Seaside, while the leading fundraising group is another local entity in the Little Silver Crocs.
A group of softball friends who played under the name Little Silver Crocs banded together 15 years ago to support Special Olympics New Jersey by way of the Polar Plunge in Seaside, and since that inaugural plunge the outfit has grown to more than 50 members.
Currently the Little Silver Crocs have raised nearly $44,000 this year, and are closing in on the $1 million mark in total funds raised since the group’s initial plunge.
The Bayshore Shrinky Dinks are another local organization doing their part for Special Olympics New Jersey, as the team has moved into fourth place in total funds raised.
This collection of firemen, police officers and friends from the Bayshore area have raised more than $12,000 in support of the cause.
To help support any of the Special Olympics with an online donation, look for their names at the fundraising website.
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