Freezin’ for a reason: People in Bazetta take the plunge to raise money for athletes

BAZETTA, Ohio (WYTV) – Organizers say the water temperature of Mosquito Lake was about 30 degrees Saturday, but that didn’t stop more than 100 people from participating in a Polar Plunge.

Nathan Omerzo, of Cortland, and his friends didn’t hesitate running into freezing water for Special Olympics Ohio’s 12th annual Mosquito Lake Polar Plunge.

“Usually it’s pretty rough, but this year wasn’t too bad,” Omerzo said.

They were just a few of the 110 people of all ages who took the plunge to raise upwards of $15,000 for Special Olympics Ohio, a non-profit organization that provides year-round sports opportunities for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

“Fundraising for Special Olympics is so important as fundraising gets more and more difficult, and when you see a community come together and have fun and jump in the water — all while raising much-needed dollars for our athletes — it’s overwhelming. It’s amazing,” said the organization’s Rob DuVall.

Money raised from these plunges helps the more than 26,000 athletes participate in sporting events all over Ohio.

“Dollars raised here stay in the community and go to athletes — entry fees, registration fees, travel, lodging, food for athletic events across the state,” DuVall said.

Saturday’s plunge kicked off the organization’s 2018 plunge season.

“It’s fun, I mean, you get to raise money for a good cause and you get to have fun. Once a year, you look forward to it, jumping in the ice. I know it sounds cold but we need to get more people out there next year and keep continuing doing it,” said Alex Rosowicz, of Cortland.