Penguin Plunge Raises More Than $5,000 for CASA


            Oneida, TN (2006-01-28) More than a dozen hearty souls braved unseasonably mild yet windy conditions at the Oneida City Park Saturday, plunging into the chilly waters to raise money and to bring awareness to the work of the Scott County Program of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of the Tennessee Heartland.  Penguin Plunge 2006 raised more than $5,000 for children’s organization.

            In all, sixteen people make the plunge into the icy waters of the Oneida City Park Lake.  While air temperatures were unseasonably mild for January, the water, according to those who participated in the event, was much colder and the prevailing wind made the event less than hospitable.  Despite the conditions, all the participants seemed to enjoy the event, some even calling their icy plunge, “refreshing”.

            Persons who brave the icy waters included: Scott County Juvenile Court Judge James L. (Jamie) Cotton, Jr.; Director of Scott County Schools J. Mike Davis; former President of the Scott County Chamber of Commerce Jeff Silver; Dane Buttram and Chris Pierce of Citizens Gas Utility District; Clint Cecil, Chief of the Mid County Fire Department; Diane Smith of the Kiwanis Club; Ashley Crabtree, Amanda Allen, Amanda Stevens and Elizabeth Stelle from the Scott High School Spanish Club; Oneida School students, Brittany Newport and Capone Strange.  CASA Penguin Plunge Committee Chairperson Becky Nolan and volunteer Sharon Beach, along with Scott County CASA County Coordinator Christy Harness also took the icy dip.

            While sixteen people accepted the challenge and entered the water, eleven others who were nominated to take the plunge opted to buy “Plunger’s Insurance” to avoid the icy waters.  Members of the Penguin Plunge “Chicken Coop” were:  Judge Shayne Sexton, Judge John McAfee, District Attorney General William Paul Phillips, State Representative Les Winningham, County Mayor Rick Keeton, Oneida Mayor Jack Lay, Mike Swain of First National Bank, Dwight Murphy of the Tennessee Technology Center of Oneida/Huntsville, Larry Jeter of Scott County Hospital, Michele Brandenburg and Cyndy Bailes, Executive Director of CASA of the Tennessee Heartland.  Each member of the Chicken Coop contributed $125 toward the cause.

            While hundreds of people were responsible for making the first-ever Penguin Plunge a success, several volunteers and contributors were recognized at Saturday’s event.  Brittany Newport was given the Emperor Penguin Award for raising the most money by an individual plunger.  Brittany also designed the event’s logo.  Other awards and recipients included: Emperor Club Award for the most money raised by a group, Scott High School Spanish Club; Rock Hopper Penguin Award for the most creatively dressed penguin, Jeff Silver; Rockin’ School House Award for the largest school club, SHS Spanish Club; Silver Penguin Award for being the oldest penguin, Jeff Silver; Waddler Award for the youngest plunger, Capone Strange; and the Great Green Penguin Award for raising the most money overall, Alex Jones.

            CASA of the Tennessee Heartland provides trained volunteer advocates who serve as the voice of abused and neglected children in juvenile court.

For more information or to volunteer contact CASA of the Tennessee Heartland’s Scott County Program Office at (423) 663-8943.