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Seattle , Washington
January 26, 2011     West Seattle Herald
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January 26, 2011

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i11[1111111~11 10 Friday, January 28, 2011 West Seattle Herald Annual Special Olympics Alki Polar Plunge nears By Steve Shay On Saturday, January 29, Super Special Olympics athlete Zach Smith and his father Norm and the rest of their team will be "Freezin' For A Reason" as they run into the water on Alki Beach as partici- pants of the annual Polar Plunge to raise money for the Special Olym- pics - Washington, organized by law enforcement throughout the state of Washington. Norm is VP of Athlete Experience, a new job title in the Special Olympics, and on the board of directors. It's a vol- unteer position. Norm said that all board mem- bers taking the plunge promise to dress in pink and purple tutus. One year the guys wore coconut bras and grass skirts. The Smiths plunged Columbia Park, Kennewick today, and will do so again at Redondo Beach in Puget Sound Feb. 14. They raise money as a team, involving other fundraisers who will plunge in unison. The Alki Plunge is Saturday, Jan- uary 29, 2011 at Alki Beach located at 2701 Alki Ave. S.W. in Seattle. Registration opens at 9:00 a.m., presentation and awards are at 11:15 a.m., the Plunge is at noon, and the Post-Plunge party immediately fol- lowing the Plunge will be held at the Alki Beach Bathhouse. Each individual must raise a min- imum of $50.00 to participate. Each individual that raises the minimum $50.00 donation will receive an offi- cial Polar Plunge t-shirt, lunch and .entry to the post-event party. Collect pledges from family, friends and colleagues and win prizes. Individu- als and teams may register online and create a fundraising page at The West Seattle Herald has been following Norm and Zach since we helped publicize the "Over The Edge" Special Olympics Wash- ington fundraiser and K2 Sports' involvement with that event last Aug. 14. Over 100 participants rappelled 514 feet from the Rainier Tower, including Norm, who got in a bit of a pickle when a rope became entan- gled with his sleeve and arm. He landed safely after a slight delay. He has been a race car driver, has hunt- ed dangerous game in Africa, and crashed an airplane in the African bush but said he is "deathly afraid of heights". Zach, on the other hand, had no problem rappelling, in tan- dem with a professional. "Zach is a special Olympics ath- lete," Norm said proudly. "He had the fight side ~ his brain removed at age 6 due to a disease and lost the use of his left side of the body. Special Olympics changed Zach's life. We're not just building ath- letes, but teaching them how to deal with greatness, loss, and each other. Some are so busy just trying to get through a day. For most of our ath- letes it's tough. The Special Olym- pics teaches them basic skill sets they're not getting anywhere else." "I did it last year and the year before," said Zach, 24, about the Alki plunge event. He was born in West Seattle and raised in Renton. He has participated in Special Olympics Washington since age 7. "It's helped me develop and advance my social skills," he said enthusiastically. "'It has helped my physical abilities, and helps me gain a lot of confidence, and I have made a lot of friends. "I work at Costco on the floor," Zach said. "I straighten shelves, col- lect cardboard boxes, and work the Photos by Steve Shay Left to right: Norm Smith, Patti Newman, and Norm's son, Zach, a Special Olympics athlete, "demonstrate" how they will plunge into the water at Alki Beach for the Saturday, Jan. 29 Special Olympics Washington Polar Plunge. car wash. I'm just not allowed to operate a fork lift. It's a good. pay- ing job. I get to take my dad out to with a wry smile. "They asked me to leave in my sophomore year, in 1972. I went to England and played arrived by mail because my morn had sent money for the whole pack- age in advance. She opens itup. It's dinner and movies some times" Patti Newman, a Lowman Beach resident, is on the Smiths' team. She and Norm are long-time friends and met as students at West Seattle High School. "I'm doing this for Zach;' New- man said with obvious fondness for him. She could not recall when Zach's father graduated WSHS. "I never did," responded Norm professional soccer with Rotherharn my damn dog. My mom was so United. Three months later I tore crushed, and shocked. Like, who my ACL and returned to work in would mail those photos to your my family's Alaska~hipping bu~ parents?'~ .-~, ~:~_ hess and on the pipeline." He recounted a bizarre event that occurred during his turbulent days in high school here. "They were taking class pictures and I happened to have my English Setter with me at school that day. (Don't ask.) I put him up on the chair instead of me and the pho- tographer had a sense of humor and went along with it. My parents were all happy when the pictures To register for the Polar Plunge got to" www.sowa.or~, or call (800) 752-7559, ext. 218. You can sponsor the Smith's team if you go to, then type in Norm Smith in the far upper fight window. Steve Shay can be reached at steves @ Left to right: Norm Smith and Norm's son, Zach, a Special Olympics athlete, will plunge into the water at Alki Beach for the Saturday, Jan. 29 Special Olympics Washington Polar Plunge. Our Free Checking has no monthly fee, no minimum balance requirement and no special conditions. Visit us today to open your account. VIKING BANK West Seattle (206) 933-3091 ~ ,