For the 11th straight year since the event began, Ted Rupert, general manager of Rupert’s Auto Body, has taken the plunge into Lake Tahoe to raise money for Special Olympics.
“It was just like it always is,” Rupert said. “Frigid cold. Bone chilling.”
Rupert joined in the first event with just a handful of participants. And now that it has grown to hundreds of plungers, he continues to be a part of it.
He even recruited his 8-year-old son, Jett, who participated for the second time this year.
“My little, brave guy did it,” Rupert said. “He went all the way up to his chest. You start to lose your breath after that.”
While plungers are required to raise $125 to participate, Rupert said his supporters are typically more generous.
He said he raised about $1,200 and Jett collected $800.
“He’s a very athletic guy himself,” Rupert said. “He’s happy to help them because he wants them to have the same opportunities he does.”
The annual South Lake Tahoe Polar Plunge supports Special Olympics in Northern California and Nevada for the intellectually disabled.
Greater Nevada Credit Union was the largest supporter with more than 80 participants raising just more than $19,000.
Rupert said he will continue to support the cause.
“I’m always for it,” he said. “As long as I can breathe, I’ll jump in that lake.”
A few weeks ago, I wrote about the origin of the name Eagle Valley. It was from the Eagle Station, so named for an eagle mounted there by the original builders.
In my mind, the station was a sprawling, if modest, structure, and the eagle was prominently displayed on some kind of pole or other platform.
I guess I should have Googled it, at the very least.
Later that week, Fred Nietz sent me a photo of the Eagle Station, and the namesake bird.
I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was. It was barely a cabin at all, and that bird … just stretched out over the door.
To look at it now, it seems so insignificant, but it’s what started it all in the Eagle Valley.
Teri Vance is a journalist, freelance writer and native Nevadan. Contact her with column ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.