SULLIVAN’S ISLAND, S.C. (WCBD) – It seems to be a rite of passage for thousands of people.
We’re talking about the Polar Bear Plunge that happens on News Years Day.
The plunge is where you jump into the ocean and “wash away” the past year and getting ready for the new year.
Bill Dunleavy, the man behind the plunge, and his sister, Patty, opened Dunleavy’s Pub on Sullivan’s Island nearly 30 years ago.
“April 15, 1992, here we are coming up on 28 years.”Bill Dunleavy
Bill is one of seven kids in the Dunleavy family, with four of them living in the Lowcountry, but he’s definitly easy to recognize.
He would be the one wearing the white tuxedo on New Year’s Day.
“We use to own them but then the rental company started seeing pictures and videos, so now we own them.”Bill Dunleavy
The plunge is not just a good time, it’s also for a great cause.
“We had been doing the Polar Plunge just on our own for eight or nine years then the Special Olympics needed to raise money for… the Dublin World Special Olympics and when they called me, I thought they needed a donation. They said ‘no we want to come to the Polar Bear Swim. We need $7,000… so we raised $13,000”Bill Dunleavy
For the last 18 years, Bill and his family have been raising money for Special Olympic athletes in South Carolina.
“They just told me raised $482,000 over the years for Special Olympics.”Bill Dunleavy
Bill Dunleavy is making sure his pub is much more than just a place for a nice cold drink and some nice conversation.
“…Helping the community, whatever we can do.”Bill Dunleavy