The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

February 9, 2013

Hundreds take plunge for Special Olympics

BOSWELL — Batman showed no fear Saturday when he and other superheroes braved the icy water of the Quemahoning Reservoir near Boswell.

More than 450 people jumped into the frigid water during the Laurel Highlands Polar Plunge. The event raised about $50,000 for the Western Pennsylvania Special Olympics that begin today.

Some wore crazy outfits, others wore shirts and shorts and some wore almost nothing.

Michael McLaughlin, aka Batman, took the plunge for the first time.

“It was a shock, literally,” said McLaughlin, 20, of Johnstown.

He jumped in unsure of what might happen. The temperature hovered around 24 degrees.

“I’ve heard of people going into shock, cardiac arrest, but I wasn’t sure,” McLaughlin said. “I came out all right.”

He and seven friends dressed as Justice League superheroes like Flash, Superman and Superwoman.

“I’ll be back next year,” he said.

This was the third year for the Polar Plunge, which began with 44 hardy souls. Last year, nearly 200 participated.

For Sam Brown and Stephen Borosky of Somerset, taking a dip was in remembrance of Special Olympian Randy Miller, who died in a fire in Somerset about 12 years ago.

They wore his Special Olympics medals in his honor.

Borosky and Brown, sponsored by Mel’s Restaurant, found the water refreshing.

“It was so great we went in a second time,” Borosky said. “It’s cold, but it’s just like anything else. The adrenalin kicks in and you warm up really fast.”

Added Brown: “It was actually awesome. Not as bad as I expected.”

Jim Burton, WJAC television meteorologist and board member of Special Olympics Pennsylvania, said the event is on track to meet its goal.

“Our goal is to make it a $100,000 event annually,” he said. “I think within five years it should be there.”

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • smothers ‘It breaks my heart’: Shooting victim’s death leaves trail of shattered lives

    Victoria Smothers knows what people thought when they heard that a young black male had been shot to death in Moxham last week.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • School violence studied

    On a typical day last year, Pennsylvania schools caught 11 students toting weapons similar to ones used to slash 21 students and a security guard at a Pittsburgh-area high school, according to the state Department of Education. An untold number of others likely brought weapons to school but weren’t caught, safety experts say.

    April 16, 2014

  • Home is Where The Tribune-Democrat is Delivered!

    April 17, 2014

  • egg hunt17 ACRP quietly notes 25th anniversary

    There will be little or no fanfare accompanying Alternative Community Resource Program’s 25th anniversary.
    And that’s how the executive director, Frank Janakovic, wants it.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • windber17 Windber students earn top ‘Overchiever’ rank

    Windber Area school’s PSSA scores have been tops in the region for the past several years.
    This year, they’re among the head of the class statewide, Pittsburgh Business Times annual Schools Guide shows.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wise, Charles Police charge bank robbery suspect

    A Johnstown man was jailed on $250,000 bond after police said he robbed the West End Branch of AmeriServ Financial. Charles Wise, 48, of Barron Avenue, was charged with two counts of robbery.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Inmate awaits sentencing for assault on guard

    A former inmate faces up to 15 years in prison when he is sentenced for assaulting a corrections officer at State Correctional Institution-Somerset, authorities said.

    April 16, 2014

  • windber pool Pool stays afloat despite troubles

    When a valve broke at the Windber Recreation Park pool last month, its municipal authority caretakers feared that meant the end for the pool’s aged, much-patched liner.
    But the old liner has held up – a stroke of luck that will save Windber Municipal Authority from having to seek a line of credit to cover repairs or risk delaying the pool opening, the authority’s recreation director, C.W. Beckley, said.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Creativity blossoming for spring art show

    The 16th annual Art in Bloom spring art show will brighten the Cambria County Courthouse in Ebensburg from noon to 6 p.m. April 26 and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 27.

    April 16, 2014

  • Alcatraz Challenge offers escape from routine

    Greater Johnstown Community YMCA is gearing up for its indoor biathlon, the Alcatraz Challenge.

    April 16, 2014


Do you think that Jack Williams will get the 270 signatures from city residents needed in order to have a referendum placed on a municipal ballot to have the city's pressure test mandate repealed?

I'm not sure
     View Results
House Ads