By Lance Eshelman, Community Resources Manager
Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility

Special Olympic Athlete Tyler Bommer and Acting Warden Covello carried the Flame of Hope together to kick off the 2018 Polar Plunge which took place at SeaWorld’s Aquatica Waterpark in Chula Vista in December. The Plunge event gathers local law enforcement agencies and San Diego County residents in efforts to raise money for Special Olympics.

As participants lined up at the edge of the water leading to the largest wave pool in Southern California, Special Olympics emcee Mike Martindale counted down 3…2…1 – and the plungers were off!  In a running sprint, plungers took on the 550,000-gallons of water as the crowd cheered. As the sponsors of the Plunge, Team Richard J. Donovan were given an opportunity to plunge separately.

The Plunge is not the only reason supporters come out to the park for the day. What trip to the water park would be considered complete without a little friendly competition?

The Chiefs Challenge brought out Chief Nisleit of the San Diego Police Department (SDPD), RJD Warden (A) Patrick Covello of and Commander John Maryon of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department to compete in a relay race with team members from their respective departments.

The relay race consisted of a slide down the Taumata Racer by Acting Warden Covello, 50 jumping jacks signifying Special Olympics 50th year anniversary completed by Acting Community Resources Manager Eshelman and a brain teaser which did not stump Associate Governmental Program Analyst Kroll, which together qualified for the finals. In a one-on-one match against SDPD, Warden Covello shot head first down the Taumata Racer at a chance for victory which resulted in the Special Olympic Southern California organization raising $38,306.95 for the Polar Plunge.

Next, RJD plans to call out Calipatria State Prison and Centinela State Prison to take on RJD in the 2019 Chiefs Challenge.

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