Colten Rozier attended his first Special Olympics Georgia Polar Plunge as an infant. On Saturday, Feb. 25, the day before Colten turns 14, he and his family will travel to Acworth for this year’s event, where Colten’s father, Gwinnett County Police Department Assistant Chief Jason Rozier, as well as other GCPD personnel, will plunge chest-deep into the chilly waters at Acworth Beach.
Colten, who was born with Down Syndrome, was an inspiration for GCPD to become involved in the annual Special Olympics fundraiser.
“When my son was born, my wife (Danielle) and I just wanted to immerse ourselves in learning about special needs individuals,” Jason Rozier said.
The Roziers went to support groups and talked with other parents of children with special needs and eventually became involved with Special Olympics Georgia’s Polar Plunge.
“The more I got involved I would invite one or two people and it kind of grew organically,” Rozier said.
The Polar Plunge is Special Olympics Georgia’s largest fundraising effort, and GCPD is one of the top fundraising agencies in the state.
“We have strength in numbers,” Rozier said. “It’s a department effort. All the precincts get involved, there’s friendly competition. It’s become this spirit of participation, spirit of competition, all for a good cause.”
Polar Plunge participants, both teams and individuals, collect pledges from family and friends leading up to the event. Participants must raise at least $50 to take the plunge. Proceeds from the fundraiser help provide free, year-round sports training and competition for Special Olympics Georgia’s more than 17.000 athletes.
Saturday’s Polar Plunge will be held at Cauble Park at 4425 Beach St. in Acworth with the following schedule:
- Registration: 9:45 to 10:45 a.m.
- Tug-A-War Tournament: 10:45 to 11:45 a.m.
- Safety announcement, costume contest and sponsor awards: 11:45 a.m.
- Polar Plunge: 12:15 to 1 p.m.
Additional details can be found online at polarplungega.org.
Anyone who wishes to support GCPD’s fundraising efforts for the Polar Plunge can donate online by clicking here.
Rozier encourages the public to attend a Special Olympics Georgia event to see how the athletes support one another and how they overcome obstacles.
“These individuals really are the best of us,” Rozier said, “and I think if we could all be a little more like them this world would be a better place.
“My son doesn’t know fear, he doesn’t know hate, he doesn’t judge people,” Rozier continued. “I learn a lot through my son of what’s really important.”
FEATURED PHOTO: Jason and Danielle Rozier attend a past Special Olympics Georgia Polar Plunge with their infant son, Colten. The Roziers plan to attend the 2023 Polar Plunge on Saturday, Feb. 25. Special photo.