Cherokee Nation marshals and Tahlequah police officers exit the cold Illinois River Saturday morning. The Cherokee Nation marshals donated $2,555 for the Special Olympics of Oklahoma during the Tahlequah Polar Plunge.
TAHLEQUAH, OKLAHOMA —About 50 Cherokee Nation employees and students from Sequoyah High School plunged into the cold Illinois River Saturday to raise money for athletes in the Special Olympics.
Groups from the Cherokee Nation Marshal Service, Sequoyah and Cherokee Casino Tahlequah collectively raised more than $4,000 during this year’s “Tahlequah Polar Plunge.”
“It means a lot to us that these athletes can come out here, watch a bunch of cops jump in the water and get cold, and know it’s all for them,” Cherokee Nation Marshal Shannon Buhl said. “This event is so important because it helps local Olympians and their families go to the Special Olympic games this summer.”
The Tahlequah Polar Plunge at Arrowhead Resort was just one of 11 held statewide in February. The Cherokee Nation Marshal Service had the largest group participate in the Tahlequah fundraiser with 29 participants. They were also the event’s largest contributor with a donation of $2,555.
Sequoyah had four faculty and 17 students from the school’s Honoring Our Peoples’ Existence (HOPE) club participate for the second year. They donated $1,275. Three employees from Cherokee Casino Tahlequah also contributed $230.
“We have our community impact team, and any time we see a worthwhile cause like this one, we think it’s important to give back to our community. This is just one more thing we do throughout the year,” Clay Young, operations manager at Cherokee Casino Tahlequah, said. “We’re glad to do it.”
More than 110 people from local schools and organizations took part in the statewide fundraising event to raise money to help send 9,800 athletes to the Oklahoma Special Olympics in May. The Tahlequah event raised a total $15,400 for athletes to buy uniforms and help with travel and lodging. Also participating Saturday were Tahlequah Public Schools, Northeastern State University, Tahlequah Police Department and more. Donations can still be made at www.sook.org.