Throughout his career in auto sales, dealership owner Ben Ripstein has shared his personal time and resources with the community. Ben Ripstein stands out as a regular donor to the Special Olympics Foundation’s annual Polar Plunge in Fox Lake, Illinois.
Sponsored by GEICO insurance and the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics, the Polar Plunge sends volunteer fundraisers into the cold waters of Illinois in late winter. In 2014, Polar Plunges took place in 20 different locations statewide between February 21 and March 23. This series of events raised more than $2 million for Special Olympics athletes, thanks to the efforts of 7,300 brave and generous participants. To date, the continuing annual event has secured more than $10 million in contributions and the participation of more than 40,000 individuals.
The event is open to volunteers of any age, although plungers under 18 must submit written permission from their parents and a signed liability waiver. All participants must raise a minimum of $75 to support their plunge. Each plunger receives a sweatshirt and admission to the event’s official Post-Plunge Party, as well as eligibility to receive special prizes, based on the amounts of funds he or she raises.