Police prove real troopers in Bay plunge

February 16, 1997


Staff Writer

Ten off-duty Maryland State Police troopers from the Hagerstown barrack plunged into the frigid Chesapeake Bay Saturday to raise money for Maryland Special Olympics.

The water temperature was 34 degrees, according to Lt. Bruce Tanner, one of the participants in the first Polar Bear Plunge held at Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis.

Tanner, 47, who wore nothing but his swimming trunks into the bay, said later that he'd take the plunge again in a heart beat.


"It was a worthwhile cause and a great time," Tanner said.

The local contingent of police joined 416 other law enforcement officers from across the state for the fundraiser.

"We had more officers than any of the other units," Tanner said. "And we raised more money than the others."

He said $4,700 in local pledges will be included in the $30,000 raised for the charity as part of the overall effort.

The fun-filled event was witnessed by hundreds of people standing on shore, Tanner said. Local officers were accompanied by their families, who cheered them through the plunge.

"We were as successful as we were due to the generosity of the people in the area who recognize a worthwhile cause," Tanner said. "I can't say enough about their generosity,"

Tanner said he anticipated the plunge would be colder than it actually was. "I felt great," he said. "It wasn't bad. It was a beautiful day, and there was a true spirit of camaraderie."

In addition to Tanner, the officers who walked together into the bay included Maj. Frank Moran, Sgt. Terry Hill, and troopers Brett Hill, Troy McDonough, R.W. Poffenberger Jr., Matt Jones, Charles Stanford, Douglas Bittinger and Kim Barnes.

Prior to the plunge, eight of the group had their backs painted with individual letters and a number to designate themselves "BARRACK O," which is the Hagerstown station, Tanner said.

State police also take part in the annual summer Torch Run, which benefits Maryland Special Olympics. More than 7,000 Special Olympic athletes participate in regular events sponsored by the organization.

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