When employees at Harker Heating & Cooling sat down late last year to discuss worthwhile causes in the Madison area to get involved with in 2017, it didn’t take long for Special Olympics Wisconsin’s Polar Plunge to come up.
A staff member brought it up in the brainstorming session and it immediately seemed like a natural fit. “The Polar Plunge is a big part of the area. Everyone knows about it and knows what it is,” said Justin Lewis, Harker Heating & Cooling’s Marketing and IT Director. “And once we started asking our employees if they thought it’d be a good idea, people came out of the woodwork with their own great stories of their experiences with the Polar Plunge and Special Olympics.”
With the endorsements of the close-knit staff, Harker quickly reached out to Special Olympics Wisconsin, and a collaboration was born. This year, the Madison Polar Plunge, taking place this Saturday, February 18 at Olin Park, is presented by Harker Heating & Cooling.
“Harker Heating & Cooling is very proud to be presenting sponsor for Special Olympics Wisconsin’s Polar Plunge in Madison,” Lewis said. “Being able to help bring the community together in a fun and creative way like the Polar Plunge to support over 10,000 Special Olympics athletes in Wisconsin made our involvement an easy decision.”
Special Olympics Wisconsin was equally as enthusiastic to partner with Harker Heating & Cooling, which has been a local business since 1949 with a sterling reputation for service and quality.
In addition to being the presenting sponsor, Harker is also participating in the Polar Plunge by way of a team of 13 Harker employees who will be plunging, according to Lewis. In fact, their team is currently one of the top fundraising teams with over $4,800 raised. Lewis himself has raised over $2,300 – good for first place on the individual leader board currently.
Other Harker employees will also be plunging on their own teams. As Lewis learned as this collaboration developed, some employees have been taking the plunge for years now with friends and family members.
Harker staff members will also be at the Plunge to help hand out beanies to the 1,500 plus plungers. But despite it being Madison in the middle of February, the beanies might not come in handy this Polar Plunge. Temperatures are expected to be at near-record highs on Saturday, even pushing 60 degrees.
“After we signed on as presenting sponsor we kind of realized the humor in a heating company sponsoring an event that is so bitterly cold,” Lewis said. “It looks like this year it won’t be quite as appropriate as we thought. But I wouldn’t stash away those Harker beanies you get at the Plunge just yet. As experts in keeping people warm during the harsh Madison winters, we can assure you there will be plenty of opportunities to break them out again very soon.”