This year 280 brave plungers were present to raise approximately $85,622 in donations so far tallied. The final number will be announced at the After Plunge party being held Jan. 22. As of now, the Heritage Harbor Ottawa Penguin Plunge is the largest fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation in the state of Illinois!
Make-A-Wish Foundation works to fulfill children’s wishes, such as meeting famous people, taking trips or finishing a project near and dear to their heart. Because many children are kept close to home or even hospitalized for treatment for their medical conditions, it can be impossible for families to find the time and resources to organize with medical providers, taking the child father away from what’s been considered normal. The Foundation’s goal is to make the granted wish something the entire family can enjoy while spending time with the child, and to do so without creating any financial worries. Doctors are involved at the highest level in planning how the details of the wish will be granted.
As of 2012, the average wish cost was $7,500, according to the foundation. Last year the Penguin Plunge raised more than $72,000 to grant several wishes for children in LaSalle and its surrounding counties.
Penguin Plungers jumped into the river off a dock in Heritage Harbor Marina, with spectators and other participants cheering each and every jumper along the sidelines.
Several jumping awards were handed out as well. They included:
* Little Dipper Award (youngest plunger) – Aidan Dempsey (8 years old)
* Old Salt Award (oldest) – Howard Braun (66 years old)
* Come Hell or High Water (traveled the furthest) – Samuel Hannan from Las Vegas
* Warm Heart Award (embraced the cause) – The Penguin Plungers (local team of women plungers)
* Happy Feet (the team with best costumes) – Foxy Penguins ( A team from Shoreline Boat Club)
* Meet the Penguins (The newest and team) – Day of You (a team from an Ottawa hair salon)
* Widest Waddle (The largest team) – 2100 Jump Team (a team from Vactor Manufacturing in Streator)
* Golden Plunge (Team that embraced the cause) – The Quack Quack’s (a team of HHO boaters)
* Emperor’s Cup (High School team that raised the most) – Marquette High School “New Kids on the Dock”
* Plunge Cup (Traveling trophy of team that raised the most money) – Streator Peters ($24,100 from Orr’s Westgate Bar in Streator)
Live entertainment and food and refreshments available for sale made the afternoon a great fundraising event and something residents of Heritage Harbor will remember for a long time to come.