January 2009 Press Release
For immediate release: January 29, 2009 Media Contact: Christopher Falkenhagen
Communications: (410) 260-4511
MHEC Employee Participates in Record-Breaking Polar Bear
ANNAPOLIS, MD (January 29, 2009) – Maryland
Higher Education Commission employee Anthony Reiner sent out
an e-mail to his colleagues last week asking them if they
would sponsor him in the Maryland State Police’s Annual
Polar Bear Plunge – an event that benefits Special Olympics.
Reiner’s colleagues obliged with contributions, although
none were willing to brave the cold to join him. Despite air
and water temperatures in the mid-30s, Reiner joined with
Governor O’Malley and thousands of other “plungers”
Saturday. The event (nicknamed) Plungapalooza ’09 raised
more than $2.5 million with more expected to come in by the
end of the week, according to State Police spokesman Greg
Shipley, who also took the plunge.
“I’m proud of Anthony although I worry about his sanity,”
Secretary of Higher Education James E. Lyons, Sr., joked.
“In all seriousness, this was a brave and charitable
endeavor on Anthony’s part. I was pleased to be one of his
sponsors and very happy that other MHEC employees
contributed to his effort.”
MHEC staff contributed more than $300 to Reiner’s plunge.
This is the second year Reiner has participated in the event
and he was no worse for wear when he showed up to work on
Monday, despite taking three plunges.
Taking the plunge “is a real test of will to make yourself
do it,” Reiner said. “It’s a lot of fun and it’s for a good
cause. In these economic times, we need to do as much as we
can for a charity.”
Reiner said he has participated in the last two MSP Polar
Bear plunges and another plunge for to benefit the
Chesapeake Bay Foundation. “The cold water doesn’t bother
me,” Reiner said.
This year’s event featured a record number of plungers –
more than 11,000, according to Shipley.
As for Reiner’s future plunging plans? He intends to do it
again next year and has already started to recruit MHEC
employees to join him.
The Maryland Higher Education Commission is a 12-member
coordinating board responsible for establishing statewide
policies for Maryland public and independent colleges and
universities and private career schools. It serves as an
advocate for more than 326,000 college students in Maryland,
for the State and its needs, and for business and industry