Rochester Polar Plunge returns for its 21st year

(ABC 6 News) – Back for its 21st year, the Rochester Polar Plunge has raised more than $3.3 million for Special Olympics Minnesota. This year, more than 660 plungers signed up to help make a difference.

"Don’t feel bad for us, we’re doing this on purpose," said Olmsted County Sheriff Kevin Torgerson as he walked out of the freezing water.

The Polar Plunge is a series of events where people go to the extreme to support Special Olympics Minnesota. That includes diving into the frigid water. Fundraising is required to participate but the minimum donation of $75 makes a big impact. An impact not only for those who benefit from it, but those who keep returning to take the plunge.

"It’s fun! Yeah, I’m paying $75 for a t-shirt but it’s worth it because I know it’s going to a good cause," said Diane Hammel, also known as the "smile face lady" who has been plunging for 11 years. "I pretend like it’s really 90 degrees out, it’s not working."

For more information on how you can get involved either physically or virtually, you can click here.