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Special Olympics Delaware hosts Polar Bear Plunge in first major event with new leader

Special Olympics Delaware

The annual Special Olympics Polar Bear Plunge in Rehoboth Beach this weekend is the first major event for the new Executive Director at Special Olympics Delaware.

David Halley took the helm of Special Olympics Delaware January 24.

He takes over for Ann Grunert who retired after 34 years.

Among his goals is to serve more families in Delaware.

"Like a lot of not-for-profit and community organizations they were hit hard for COVID and so not able to serve families in the way that we're used to being able to serve, so not only growing back but being able to grow even beyond what they were doing prior to the pandemic," said Halley. "There's just so many families here in Delaware that can benefit from what the Special Olympics offers."

Not only does he take over during a pandemic, but also right before one of the organization’s huge fundraising events, the Polar Bear Plunge.

That takes place Sunday in Rehoboth Beach, with money raised going to the Special Olympics athletes.

"All the money that they raise goes to support individual families and athletes so that when we put on events they don't pay anything for what we put on," said Halley. "It all goes back to supporting these individuals and families."

It’s a weekend-long celebration with a 5K run and Chili contest Saturday and Ice and Sand Sculpting demonstrations Sunday before the plunge at 1 p.m.

And Halley says there’s also a virtual option for the plunge this year.

"So they are doing a combination, so yes there's two great ways to support so you can do it in-person or virtually," Halley said. "Virtual is a lot of fun. You'll see pictures of stuff that we post of people doing it, and there's some very creative ways that people are doing this virtually."

More information about Special Olympics Delaware and the Polar Plunge is available at

Joe brings over 20 years of experience in news and radio to Delaware Public Media and the All Things Considered host position. He joined DPM in November 2019 as a reporter and fill-in ATC host after six years as a reporter and anchor at commercial radio stations in New Castle and Sussex Counties.