Quincy Police Department braves icy Columbia River
On Feb. 23, the temperature at Walla Walla Point Park in Wenatchee was hovering just below freezing. Regardless, members of the Quincy Police Department showed up wearing T-shirts designed by Quincy student Bryonna Gray from Mrs. Averill’s class and swim shorts to complete the day’s uniform code. They were participating in the Polar Plunge to support the Special Olympics as the “Quincy PD Copsicles.”
Eunice Kennedy Shriver started the Special Olympics is 1968 to offer people with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to play and to feel included. It grew into a global movement with nearly 5 million athletes in 169 countries.
“I sent out the email and people (in the Police Department) started signing up,” Chief Siebert said, looking pleased. “There are 14 members in our team.”
The team was: Chris Doty, Julie Fuller, Ryan Green, Jesse King, David Kenney, Chris Lafferty, Sal Mancini, Daniel Reyes, Colton Richards, Kieth Siebert, Jazzlyn Silva, Paul Snyder, Eric Talbot and Jorge Trujillo.
As the designated plunge time drew closer, some Copsicle faces began to look less pleased and more frozen – whether from cold or anxiety is anyone’s guess. Chief Siebert resorted to eating a doughnut with his coffee, a rare choice of food for him. Some of the other Copsicles did likewise, taking in some extra, energizing calories.
Officer Jorge Trujillo was huddled under a purple blanket, not unlike the shade of the officer’s lips at the time. He was trying to stay warm until the last possible moment.
“I don’t like water, other than to drink it,” Trujillo said. “But, the Chief sent out the email and I wanted to participate.”
Sergeant Julie Fuller was busy keeping her children comfortable while waiting to plunge in the icy water. She had also made sure there was hot coffee, hot chocolate and warm cups of noodles for those who needed something warm – it seemed most everybody did.
“I’m not looking forward to it,” she admitted.
Fuller had another family member with her: David Kenney, who is a Special Olympics athlete. Kenney was wearing three medals he had won in previous Special Olympics events, all from bowling, which is his activity this year, as well. As part of the Copsicle team, Kenney was ready to enter the water in his swimming trunks.
This was the first “Plunge” for all of the team members. The Copsicles kept the mood jovial as they waited, but every now and again a hesitant glance towards the icy Columbia River escaped from one team member or another. The water in the lagoon had frozen over and had to be broken for the swimming activity both the night before and again in the morning. Unfortunately, Captain Green suffered considerable gashes on his legs from the hard chunks of ice in the river as he dashed in for the dip without hesitation – the cold feet didn’t emerge until after the icy splash.
“I didn’t even notice,” Green said through chattering teeth as he glanced at his bleeding shins after he came out of the water. “I can’t feel anything right now.”
The Polar Plunge was more than a show of bravery – it was a show of support for the Special Olympics. The Quincy Police Department had accumulated $3,624 from their donors, thus earning a medal as the “Top Wenatchee Fundraising Agency.”
Make sure to offer a warm smile to the Quincy officers as they patrol the city – it may take them a while to thaw out.
By Jaana Hatton, For the Post-Register