Posted by: sonewjersey | October 10, 2011

Why I Plunge

by Jake Horowitz

He has the brightest smile I’ve ever seen. Whenever he arrives at the town pool, he seems to light up the place, bringing excitement when he enters. He says hello to everyone and shakes their hands, then he proceeds to tell us what he read in the newspaper that morning. His name is Moses…and he is autistic.

My friend Moses

Ever since I was young, I would always see him when I went to the town pool with my parents. Now I’m a lifeguard there and he makes me look forward to going to work. There is something very special about this young man.

I first became aware of the Special Olympics because Moses told us how he has won numerous gold medals – for speed skating, cycling and tennis. When I heard about the Thanks ‘4’ Giving Plunge, I knew it was something I could “jump into” for my friend Moses.

I learned about the Plunge through the Bergen County Sheriff’s Youth Leadership Academy (BCSYLA), a kind of junior police academy for young adults who want to become police officers and learn about leadership. I was part of the first class in the BCSYLA and now hold the rank of lieutenant.

Last year was the first time we cadets did the Thanks ‘4’ Giving Plunge with the officers. I remember it was an incredibly cold day—bitter and windy. Everyone on the shore was wrapped in heavy coats and warm hats as they cheered us on.

This is our cadet unit before the Plunge. Nice and warm in our uniform jackets!

Going into the water was a shock but we played a game to see who could stay in the water the longest. When I was unable to feel my thighs, I ran out of the water and wrapped myself in the biggest towel I could find!  I was two cadets away from winning…but I knew that the real winners that day were the athletes like Moses.

This year we’re planning to wear costumes. I myself am going to be Wonder Woman. (I wonder if she feels cold?)

Last year the BCSYLA raised $7,300 for Special Olympics. I personally raised $250 in donations and this year my goal is to top that. I’m working hard to do that and I’ve even invited my friend Moses to come and see me take the Plunge for him.

Members of my cadet unit. That’s me in the sand.

After the Plunge - we’re cold but we feel great!

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