Cumberland, MD – In its eighteenth year, the Hooley Plunge has become the largest single-day fundraising event in Allegany County. Scheduled for Saturday, March 5, hundreds of brave souls run into the cold waters of Lake Habeeb at Rocky Gap State Park to raise money for local programs supporting the developmentally disabled, including the Special Olympics of Allegany County, Friends Aware, programs based in both the public and private schools, Boy Scout Troop #89 and more. The Hooley Plunge is coordinated by the Alhambra Wamba Caravan #89 and co-chaired by Alhambra members Rob Adams and Stephen Gray. Since its inception, over 1.7 million dollars have been raised.
“Due to COVID, we had to reschedule 2021’s Plunge for October. But we’re back on track this year, and it’s back to the original date – the first Saturday in March,” commented Adams. “Our motto is Go Bold, Go Cold,” he joked.
“It’s truly a reflection on how generous and supportive our community is. Not only do the hundreds of Plungers come out, but their friends, business associates and family members come out and cheer them on. We see kids and teachers from all the schools, senior citizens, entire school and sports teams, organizations and businesses coming together, having a great time and doing something special for those in our local community that are developmentally disabled. It makes me proud to be part of this community,” Adams added.
The inspiration of the Hooley Plunge started with Dr. Sean McCagh as a fundraiser for the YMCA ice rink. As the beloved uncle of a developmentally disabled nephew, McCagh appreciated how vital these programs are for individuals and their families. When the ice rink was closed, McCagh followed his own advice, “Make it personal.” The Hooley Plunge now funds numerous local programs and organizations, including The Allegany County Board of Education Inclusion Sports programs and SLE Programs at Cash Valley Elementary Fort Hill School and Mountain Ridge His School, as well as the Career Center, the Board of Education’s Transition program with Allegany College of Maryland. Other recipients include Bishop Walsh School and Calvary Christian School, Boy Scout Troop #89, Friends Aware Social Committee, Service Coordination, Inc, Ray of Hope, and an annual scholarship at Frostburg State University dedicated to a local student. The Hooley Plunge also fully funds the Special Olympics of Allegany County.
On-site registration for the Hooley Plunge begins at 10 am on Saturday, March 5, and the Plungers take to the waters at 1 pm. Plungers and spectators are encouraged to arrive early to avoid a traffic backup. For more information or registering for the Plunge, visit www.hooleyplunge.com or Hooley Plunge on Facebook.
Following the Hooley Plunge, 1812 Brewery hosts a Post Hooley Plunge Party from 3 -5 pm with musicians Dan Stevens and Mike Harpold and food by Mise En Place. There is a $5 donation that goes directly to the Hooley Plunge.