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Heritage Harbor Penguin Plunge 2017

Penguin Plunge 2017
Record Breaking Community Fundraiser
It was a chilly 21 degree morning on January 7th when hundreds turned up to Heritage Harbor in Ottawa for their chance to jump in the river for Make-A-Wish. This annual event invites teams and individuals to raise funds for the wish-granting organization and also welcomes several area wish recipients to speak with participants throughout the day.

At the recent  “After the Plunge” check-presentation and celebration for participants and supporters, organizers announced that a record $161,188 was raised to benefit Make-A-Wish® Illinois during this year's Penguin Plunge.

“The continued momentum we’ve had growing this event year over year has been unbelievable, and we’re incredibly thankful for the generosity of all our participants, donors and sponsors for making the Plunge such a success,” said Tammy Barry, Penguin Plunge co-chairman and director of sales and marketing for Heritage Harbor Ottawa. “We were especially thrilled with the record turnout for this year’s event, despite it being our coldest Plunge to date with temperatures in the 20s. Thanks to our dedicated Plungers and everyone supporting them, we were able to make our largest contribution ever to Make-A-Wish to support the organization’s wonderful mission.” 

The Heritage Harbor Ottawa Penguin Plunge encourages the Starved Rock Country, Heritage Harbor residents and Ottawa community to collect pledges for jumping off the dock and into the chilly water at Heritage Harbor Marina. The sixth annual Penguin Plunge had 370 participants that were part of 36 teams, and more than 2,500 spectators.

New this year was the Puddle Plunger challenge for ages 12 and under that drew 22 participants and 48 students took part in the “cool school challenge”. Top Team Awards went to Chilin Dylan ( $10,255);Ottawa High School Student Council ($10,500) and Streator Peters (over $18,000). Top Individual Fundraisers were Robin Ballard, Jason Schmitt and Jim Reilly. One-hundred percent of Penguin Plunge proceeds go directly to Make-A-Wish thanks to the generosity of donors and event sponsors.

Stephanie Springs, Make-A-Wish Illinois Chief Executive Officer attended the presentation and remarked, “We are so grateful to the wonderful community of Penguin Plunge supporters for all that they have done for the wish kids of Make-A-Wish. The caring, compassionate people who come together on a brisk January to cheer on folks willing to take a plunge in Heritage Harbor for Make-A-Wish is amazing! We offer a tremendous thank you to the event organizers Linda Johnson and Tammy Barry. And a special thank you goes to the owners of Heritage Harbor, Tom and Pete Heimsoth. This community is supporting wish kids and their families with every freezing plunge that they take.”

Make-A-Wish Illinois will grant more than 700 wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions across the state this year through the support of community events like Penguin Plunge and individual, corporate and foundation donations. More than 1,700 volunteers make sure that children in every part of the state have the opportunity to share the power of a wish.®

About Heritage Harbor Ottawa
Heritage Harbor Ottawa is a 142-acre master-planned marina resort community of 600 homes located on the Illinois River in Ottawa, Ill., just 90 minutes from downtown Chicago. Featuring a 32-acre marina surrounded by pocket neighborhoods of waterfront custom homes, condominiums, cottages and townhomes, Heritage Harbor Ottawa is a unique residential option in Starved Rock Country for those seeking a vacation, retirement or full-time home on the water. For more information, visit

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Make-A-Wish® Illinois
640 North LaSalle Drive
Suite 280
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 602-9474
Toll Free (800) 978-9474