Chatham Sheriff’s Polar Plunge makes big splash by raising $15,200 for Special Olympics NC

Pittsboro, NC – On Saturday, February 26, a spirited group of men, women, and children gathered at Seaforth Beach to plunge into the chilly waters of Jordan Lake in hopes of raising money and awareness for Special Olympics North Carolina (SONC). 

Polar Plungers gathered at Seaforth Beach to support SONC

The event drew its largest crowd yet with an estimated 150 visitors turning out to cheer on around 90 participants. Attendees were honored by a guest appearance from Special Olympics NC Athlete and loyal supporter Dani Kinert. Following long-standing tradition, Chatham County Sheriff Mike Roberson and his wife Annette were the first team in the water. 

“The support for this event has been mind-blowing.  I want to give special thanks to our Special Olympics Athletes, Polar Plungers, sponsors, sister agencies, schools, Student Resource Officers, and Community Service Unit for making this event a success,” says Sheriff Mike Roberson. “I also want to thank State Parks, Wildlife, North Chatham Fire Department and First Health EMS for their assistance with keeping the event fun and safe for participants.”

Sheriff Mike Roberson and wife Annette were the first to take the plunge

Trophy winners included Best Individual Costume (SRO Kyle Smith, who dedicated his win to Margaret Pollard Middle School), Best Group Costume (Northwood High School), Youngest Plunger (Ryleigh Norton), Most Mature Plunger (Kay Schlegel Pratt), Top Individual Fundraiser (Katie Scotton), Top Team Fundraiser (Christopher 24/7), and more. Chatham Charter took home awards for Top Participation and Top Fundraiser for a school. The ladies of team “Jordan Lake Sunday Plungers” also set a new record for longest team plunge, enduring the frigid water for over two minutes before returning to shore. All awards were announced by DJ Hayden Burke, who kept the crowd energized throughout the event.

SRO Sgt. Felix Jimenez (center) leads a group of Northwood students in charge toward the water

“Our goal was to raise money for an amazing cause, and our sponsors and Polar Plungers delivered above and beyond our goal,” says Chatham County Sheriff’s Office Special Olympics Coordinator Chris Cooper, who plunged alongside his sons at the event. “I am especially grateful to Mark Jacobson Toyota, Chatham County Schools, NC State Parks, the NC Wildlife Resources Commission, Recovery Logistics and Tony Hernandez with Bull City rental for sponsoring the event and supporting Special Olympics NC!”

Sheriff’s Office Special Olympics Coordinator Captain Chris Cooper leading sons Sampson and Cole Cooper into Jordan Lake

The event pulled in more than $15,200.00 in donations from individuals and local businesses, exceeding its initial goal of $12,000. The Chatham County Sheriff’s Office will be hosting additional fundraising events for Special Olympics NC in coming months, including its annual charity Golf Tournament at Governors Club. The Golf Tournament is expected to be the highest-earning fundraiser of the year, generating thousands of dollars for adults and children with learning disabilities set to compete in the North Carolina Special Olympics. 

More information on upcoming events will be available on the Sheriff’s Office Facebook page at as well as on