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plunging for a purpose

Bo Mathews

Bo Mathews

Profession: Account Manager, Audio Visual Integrator

Hometown: West Greenwich, RI

Super Plunger Since: 2014

What initially prompted you to get involved in the Super Plunge for Special Olympics Rhode Island?
Conversations about initiating a Super Plunge in Rhode Island had started in 2012 and I was intrigued. The following year, I showed up to participate in the Torch Run Plunge and discovered that Elwood Johnson, Chief of Police for the Town of Richmond, had embarked on the first-ever Super Plunge. He was on plunge #20 when I arrived. I introduced myself, told him I would like to participate the following year, and the rest is history! I’ve been involved ever since.

Describe at a high level the Super Plunge experience.
The first thing that crosses my mind is the camaraderie the Super Plungers have developed over the years. We have become a pretty close group with a common bond of raising funds and awareness for the athletes of Special Olympics Rhode Island. During the event, we encourage each other to keep going and ensure during the long stretches of late evening/early morning times that we have each other’s backs! Then the sun comes up………game on! Second wind, final countdown, and the support of all the people who are showing up for the final plunge!

Given that you’re plunging into icy waters every hour for 24 hours straight, are you able to eat or sleep at all?
We are very spoiled on the food front. We do eat throughout the event. Sleep, however, is nothing more than a glorified nap with the shocking realization that it’s soon time to get up and head out again into the cold weather and down to the water.

How do you personally prepare for the Super Plunge?
Most of my preparation involves making sure I have enough dry clothes and towels to get through the event. There is no preparation…cold showers don’t help, they hurt!  Mentally, the thought process takes me through all the athletes that I know through my work with Special Olympics, and reminding myself how much they will benefit from the Super Plunge.

During the Super Plunge, are there any steps you take or rituals you follow before and/or after each of the 24-hour plunges?
Plunge, cover head, go to changing room, eat, socialize, plunge………repeat.

Describe how you feel physically and emotionally after the final 24th plunge?
It is a combination of many emotions. The event is completed, and we are exhausted and cold to the bone. Then, after the final plunge, the realization that you did it overtakes you. The warmth that is felt from all the individuals on the beach comforts you. Also, knowing that you don’t have to do it again for a whole year!  EXHILARATING!!!

Do you have a favorite memory from any of the Super Plunges you’ve participated in?
Last year was pretty cool when the police academy created a line to the beach and the honor guard marched into knee-high water as the event took place!

What message would you like to share with members of the public about your commitment to the Super Plunge and the athletes of Special Olympics Rhode Island, and about how members of the public can support this initiative?
The 24-Hour Super Plunge is a huge commitment and no easy feat, yet we’re about to hit the 12-year mark of this fundraising and awareness raising initiative. What drives me to do this each year are the individual relationships with the athletes who I get to see regularly throughout the year. I feel a personal connection to each and every one! I hope our efforts show people how deeply committed we are to ensuring better lives for the athletes and that we inspire them to join us in supporting this important cause. I refer people to my donation page, but I also challenge them to come and take a dip with us!  Some come and experience the chilly Atlantic while others take out their wallets!

Aside from the Super Plunge, are you involved with Special Olympics Rhode Island in any other way?
A few ways. I serve on the board of directors and volunteer at any and all events I can get to, including state and regional games, and Torch Run events.

Anything else you’d like to add about the Super Plunge or Special Olympics Rhode Island?
I consider SORI part of my family. I even grew up 2 houses away from SORI Finance Director, Robin D! My wife and I socialize with all the Super Plungers on one level or another, and all of the current and former employees of SORI are like brothers and sisters! The family bond that was created all those years ago when I first got involved with the organization has helped me get to a better place in my life, and for that, I am forever grateful!


The Plunging for a Purpose Series

The “Plunging for a Purpose” series celebrates the indomitable spirit of the Torch Run Super Plunge participants. These remarkable individuals are gearing up for an extraordinary challenge: plunging into icy waters every hour for a relentless 24-hour stretch, starting at 1 p.m. on March 23 and concluding at noon on March 24, all at Salty Brine State Beach. Their goal? To raise vital funds and awareness for the athletes of Special Olympics Rhode Island. Through their dedication and selflessness, they inspire us all. Join us in supporting their cause by considering a donation to their remarkable endeavor.