CHICAGO – The freezing waters of Lake Michigan were not enough to deter ComEd employees from the company’s largest volunteer event of the year.
More than 500 ComEd employees, joined by their family members and friends, jumped into Lake Michigan in support of the 14th annual Polar Plunge Sunday, according to a news release from ComEd.
Hosted by Special Olympics Chicago at Chicago’s North Avenue Beach, the Polar Plunge fundraiser encourages participants to run into Lake Michigan and benefits about 5,000 athletes from Special Olympics Chicago.
The 500-strong “ComEd Coolers” team raised almost $138,000 for this year’s Polar Plunge, including ComEd’s corporate sponsorship of $15,000. Many members of the “ComEd Coolers” team added to the freezing adventure by dressing up in costume before entering Lake Michigan.
One of the top fundraisers for the “ComEd Coolers” was Minooka resident Carl Fowler. Fowler is an operations coordinator transmission services at ComEd and he raised $6,900 for the Polar Plunge. Fowler raised $4,500 during last year’s plunge.
“When we first joined Special Olympics Chicago two years ago and decided to dip our toes into Lake Michigan for the Polar Plunge, we had an initial goal of 30 volunteers and we were thrilled to have a group of 75 on the beach that day,” said Anne Pramaggiore, president and CEO, ComEd, in the release. “Two years later, I’m proud to say the ComEd Coolers had 500 members. We were the biggest team at the Polar Plunge and this event has now become the company’s largest volunteer event during the year.”
This year’s Polar Plunge featured Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Jimmy Fallon, host of “The Tonight Show” on NBC.
Special Olympics Chicago estimates more than 3,200 plungers participated this year and raised about $1 million. The exact amount collected won’t be known until a few weeks after the plunge. All plungers were required to raise a minimum of $150.
The Polar Plunge funds are used by Special Olympics Chicago to support year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-style sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.