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The County Chronicle

School security officer plunges into the numbing waters of Virginia Beach

School security officer Jacob Dryden decided to bring his support for the Virginia Special Olympics to County, joining Special Olympics Virginia in raising 1.62 million dollars for Special Olympics athletes from the polar plungers. 

Dryden was one of the 3,254 “chillers” who braved the cold waters of Virginia Beach on February 2. For his fifth year in a row, Dryden wanted to show his dedication to the nonprofit organization that helps raise funds for Special Olympics athletes. To raise awareness for his upcoming fundraiser, he came to school best dressed in an inflatable sloth costume. 

During the school day, Dryden wore the sloth costume and visited each classroom to explain to students and staff what the Virginia Special Olympics are, answer any questions students may have, and overall promote awareness for the Special Olympics movement. 

The Virginia Special Olympics holds many different fundraising events, such as the Law Enforcement Torch Run, Dulles plane pull, small fire truck and ambulance pulls, and the biggest, which is the Polar Plunges. 

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Dryden’s polar plunge journey began at his previous job at the Virginia Department of Corrections. “The prison sponsored a local team, and the department made it a memorandum that we had to be involved somehow. I started coaching the powerlifting team and track, then I started doing their fundraising,” Dryden said. He explained that for the little amount of time it took, he truly enjoyed it. 

“I could simply say that I do it every year for the special needs children and adults, and I do, but I do it because when I started doing work with a Special Olympics team, it showed me what a glimpse of true happiness is: these athletes would do anything and everything for anyone, and I feel that in return, not only should I carry that throughout my life, but I should also be willing to go above and beyond trying to help them,” Dryden said. 

The bonds he created with these athletes and the competitive atmosphere in his previous job were the combination that drove Dryden to want to raise as much awareness and money as possible for this organization. This led him to participate in the yearly polar plunges by jumping in waters with temperatures measuring in the negatives. “In Virginia Beach, there are tens of thousands of people lined up ready to jump in, so you are warm until you come back out. It is very rejuvenating, and running into some cold water in the cold weather is a great way to show you how alive you can be,” Dryden said. 

Dryden does not plan to stop anytime soon. 

“Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave at the attempt,” Dryden said.

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About the Contributor
Sophia Casciano
Sophia Casciano, staff writer
Sophia Casciano is a senior at Loudoun County High School and this is her first year on the newspaper staff. Although new to writing articles Sophia loves to write creative pieces and is hoping to carry her love for writing to The County Chronicle. Outside of school she enjoys playing soccer and showing animals in our local 4-H.

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