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Virtual polar plungers raise money for Special Olympics

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POLSON — A handful of cold-water enthusiasts received an icy shower from the Polson Fire Department in response to the Special Olympics of Montana virtual polar plunge fund raising challenge. 

“It was cold, but it wasn’t as bad as we thought,” said Bethany Butler. Her sibling Tristan Butler raised a little more than $650 for the Special Olympics. 

Saturday morning’s event was held at the Polson Search and Rescue Building and featured a limited group of first responders and top fund raisers from this year’s virtual polar plunge.

“Because of the COVID-19, we held virtual plunges as an option for those who wanted to support us,” said Vickie Donisthorpe, chief operating officer for the Special Olympics of Montana. 

Organizers chose to make the event virtual with the aim of giving participants the opportunity to raise funds safely and still get the thrill of a polar plunge from home. “Overall it has been positive and very fun,” said Donisthorpe. “We have raised close to $2,000 dollars.”

Those interested can still join the fun through Jan. 16 by registering on the Special Olympics of Montana website at In order to participate, plungers must upload photos or a 15-60 second video of their “plunge” to the website. Plungers are encouraged to make their family-appropriate videos as creative and fun as possible in a COVID-safe way.

People who raise a minimum of $125 ($50 for those 17 and under) will receive a free 2021 Polar Plunge T-shirt. Plungers who raise more money earn additional Polar Plunge items, including a beanie hat, tumbler, zipper hoodie and more. More information can be found at or by calling 406-315-4210.

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