Tallmadge -- A group from Tallmadge known as team "Rusty's Warriors" ran into ice-cold water at Geneva State Park in Geneva-on-the-Lake Feb. 9 for the 17th Annual Law Enforcement Polar Plunge.

The team raised nearly $4,000 for the Special Olympics of Ohio during the event, which earned it fourth place of the 60 registered teams, according to Special Olympics of Ohio spokesman Curt Howard.

About 500 people participated in this year's event, and another 1,000 came to watch.

Cuyahoga Falls resident Rusty Vanscoy, a Special Olympian who receives services at the Summit Disabilities Board in Tallmadge, ranked third in individual donations this year with a total of $1,519. He earned a medal for his effort.

According to his mother, Martha Vanscoy, of the six years he's been part of the Plunge, Rusty Vanscoy has been among the top 10 individual fundraisers.

"But this year is the highest. It seems like it's $200 or $300 more each year," she said. Eleven of the 12 members of "Rusty's Warriors" gathered outside on the sunny, 30-degree afternoon before jumping in the 32-degree water for two minutes.

"It's lots of fun," Rusty Vanscoy said. "It was cold."

Ed Vanscoy said his son enjoys watching the excitement of all the participants but that wasn't enough to get himself and his wife into the water.

"I think they're all nuts. It's just so cold. I can't even imagine," Martha Vanscoy said. "I don't like to go into Lake Erie during the summer so I can't imagine people going in during the winter."

Tallmadge resident Nova Mikel was one of three Summit DD employees on the team. This was her third year participating, and she plans to again in coming years.

"We help Rusty out. All of us staff do this to help Rusty raise money for his team," she said.

She said this year was more fun than last because the lake was frozen. A backhoe cut away a section of the lake for the plungers.

"Last year we only went in to our shins. We were actually able to go all the way in, like waist high ... ," she said. "Your feet are killing you when you walk out."

Participants were invited to attend a banquet and awards ceremony recognizing the fundraisers Feb. 8 and stay overnight at the Lodge at Geneva.

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