Guest Commentary: Making a Splash for Lewis County Special Olympics Athletes

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Taking the plunge into Mayfield Lake in January does not sound appealing to a lot of people. Luckily, there are some crazy plungers eager to raise money and awareness for Lewis County Special Olympics athletes and Special Olympics Washington. That is exactly what a couple dozen plungers are going to do at 9 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 8.

We hope to count on your support.

COVID-19, mandates and restrictions have been difficult for each and every one of us. It has been disproportionately difficult for Special Olympics families that rely on their training and competitions.

As Special Olympics Washington so aptly states, “Special Olympics is the only place where they find an opportunity to participate in their communities, develop belief in themselves, and feel like champions.”

There is no better time to help get our athletes back on the field, court or track.

I am proud to be participating in my fifth Special Olympics Polar Plunge with our Lewis County Icicle Brigade Polar Plunge Team. It is a great feeling to know that your efforts have helped buy uniforms, reserved training and competition space, and secured travel so that athletes can represent our community.

Building inclusive communities and shattering stereotypes takes more than words and sentiments. To create opportunities for Special Olympics athletes and their families, we must raise awareness and money to help open the door of possibilities, not disabilities. For every one of the inspiring 19,500 Special Olympics Washington athletes there are 13 more individuals with disabilities waiting for their chance to compete.

Our Lewis County Icicle Brigade Polar Plunge Team is currently 26 strong and has raised over $2,000 for Special Olympics athletes. The team almost reached our $3,000 goal, but we hope to break the goal before we plunge on Jan. 8  Thank you for the selfless response from our community.

I also want to thank Officers Ruben Ramirez and Stephen Sommers with the Centralia Police Department for their continued support and leadership on the polar plunge, Tom Alderson with Awards West, The Chronicle, KELA- KMNT Radio and each of our team members and supporters.

It is through their support that we have come so close to our goal and introduced Lewis County Special Olympics to many community members.

Please consider helping us “make a splash” for Special Olympics Washington. If you would like to join our team or donate to the Lewis County Icicle Brigade, please consider supporting individual plungers or the Team at the Lewis County Icicle Brigade team page https://impact.sowa.org/LewisCountyIcicles.

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Peter Abbarno is a Centralia-based attorney who represents the 20th Legislative District in the Washington House of Representatives.