by Dennis Dalman
Some way to spend a birthday! First, plunging into ice-cold water, then getting in a vehicle that won’t start, finally waiting more than an hour for a tow truck to arrive.
That’s how Rick Welch of Sartell “celebrated” his 28th birthday, along with his sweetheart, MaryBeth Munden of St. Joseph. But Welch, a good sport, wasn’t complaining, nor was Munden.
“Overall, we had a really good day,” she said.
On Feb. 9 in Sauk Centre’s Sinclair Lewis Park, Munden and Welch, as they have in years past, took the Polar Plunge together to help raise money for Special Olympics Minnesota. They and the other nearly 200 plungers at the event raised $39,000 in pledges. The team of Munden-Welch raised $2,275 of that amount.
This was the sixth consecutive plunge for Munden, a dispatcher for the St. Joseph Police Department who also works part-time at Kay’s Kitchen and the El Paso Bar and Grill in St. Joseph. Welch has plunged three times with Munden.
Statewide, $4 million was raised this past winter at the 20 Polar Plunge events throughout Minnesota. Each year, the event is sponsored by law-enforcement agencies with the help of individuals, organizations and businesses.
After Welch and Munden took the plunge, they socialized awhile, then got into Welch’s car for the trip back to St. Joseph. They quickly discovered the car’s ignition system would not “read” the chip in the car key. Thus, it wouldn’t start. After many phone calls, they decided to hitch a ride back to St. Joseph to pick up Munden’s truck. They drove back to Sauk Centre, called a tow truck and had an hour’s time to kill. So they romped and ran and played on the ice with their dog, Paulie, until the tow truck arrived.
Once the car had been towed to St. Joseph’s TireMaxx, it apparently made up its mind to start or else maybe the key got its chip together. Go figure. Munden and Welch just had to laugh.
“Oh well, we had to get that car fixed anyway,” Munden said.
Welch’s birthday cost him $120 for the tow bill and $830 to fix his car. Compared to that, the icy plunge was downright pleasant.