QUINCY -- Quincy Police Chief Rob Copley will soon plunge into the depths of Lake Michigan once an hour for 24 hours straight to support Special Olympics Illinois.
This will mark the fourth time that Copley has participated in the Super Plunge for Special Olympics Illinois at the Clark Street Beach in Evanston. The Super Plunge will begin at 1 p.m. Friday and continue through the night, drawing to a close at noon Saturday.
"It's cold, no doubt about it," Copley said, "but it's for a great cause."
Between plunges, more than 50 participants will relax inside a heated tent. They'll have the opportunity to rest, but their sleep will be interrupted each hour for the next plunge.
"I always leave energized, just knowing that what you did for the last 24 hours is going to help a lot of Special Olympians participate in the games," Copley said, noting that after past plunges, he has driven home directly from the event and has never felt tired.
Participants must raise at least $2,500 to plunge. Copley is about halfway through fundraising and is asking for community support to ensure he is able to participate again this year.
"I'm not asking anybody to jump in the water with me, but I'm asking for donations," he said. "It's not helping me. It's helping the Special Olympics."
He has raised more than $9,000 over his last three plunges.
Cash or check donations can be dropped off at the Quincy Police Department, or donations can be made at plungeillinois.com, by searching for "Rob Copley."
Special Olympics is the primary recipient of the charitable efforts of law enforcement organizations around the world. Copley estimates that members of law enforcement will make up about 25 percent of Super Plunge participants.
"I got hooked on Special Olympics early on in my career, seeing all the Special Olympians getting involved and how excited they get at the chance to compete," he said. "I think it goes back to officers wanting to help those who need help."
Quincy's Polar Plunge will be at noon Saturday, Feb. 24, at Moorman Lake in Upper Moorman Park.