Special Olympics Polar Plunge honors fallen Brentwood officer

News 2 Plus

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Hundreds of people will jump into freezing water Saturday in honor of the 23rd Annual Special Olympics Tennessee Music City Polar Plunge presented by Asurion.

More than 325 registered plungers will represent 32 teams to participate in the plunge.

Local law enforcement from Metropolitan Nashville Police Department, Davidson County Sheriff’s Department, Davidson County District Attorney’s Office, Brentwood Police Department, and Williamson County Sheriff’s Department Emergency Communications will participate.

This event is one of Special Olympics Tennessee’s key fundraisers. It is the first in-person event they’ve had since March, and this year they will be without one of their biggest supporters.

Fallen Brentwood Police Officer Destin Legieza participated in the plunge each year since 2016. Amy Parker, with Special Olympics Tennessee told News 2 he supported them in many different ways.

“He has been a law enforcement torch runner for us at our state summer games, he participated in the Polar Plunge. This will be the first year since 2016 that we have not had Destin.”

Parker says this is a bittersweet moment for the Brentwood Police Department’s plunging team.

“He was a part of the tripod with two other officers and they always plunged together. So, during this year they are going to have a moment before they plunge and then they will have a photo or sign of the tripod with them from last years plunge that will go in the water when they plunge this year.”

Parker says the Brentwood Police Department has plunged for the cause for decades.

The culture within Brentwood’s department is just amazing. This Annual Polar Plunge has been such a tradition with them for decades, so having Destin along with that was very telling… it was very telling how they are as a family.”

Parker was brought to tears with her next statement.

“What is a little bit moving for me is, Justin’s widow is going to be joining the plunge this year and will plunge for him. It’s just going to be quite spectacular. Just remembering that his life meant something and that he impacted in ways more than anyone really realized.”

Parker says although they are not in person with their athletes right now, they are still creating virtual programs for them.

“We need volunteers, fans in the stands and also financial support. Our program is free for all athletes to participate, they anticipate an additional $11.60 cents per athlete per event to get us back out there.”

COVID-19 procedures are in place for the plunge Saturday. It will happen in the pool at lot R in Nissan Stadium.

Brentwood officers plan to be the last group plunging at 2 p.m. today. Parker says they have record-breaking registrant attendance, now more than ever.

Special Olympics Tennessee serves more than 18,000 athletes across the state and has 36 local programs.

To donate or volunteer, click here.

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