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Over 120 Peoples Gas 'plungers' will make a splash for Chicago Special Olympics March 5

CHICAGO, March 4, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Over 120 individuals representing Peoples Gas are ready to brave the frigid Lake Michigan waters and make a huge splash during the Chicago Polar Plunge Sunday, March 5, at North Avenue Beach to benefit Special Olympics.

"I would like to thank Peoples Gas and its employees for their generous support of the Chicago Polar Plunge," said Kevin Magnuson, president SCC/Special Olympics Chicago. "Peoples Gas has put together one of our larger Plunge teams and has actively fundraised for our athletes. It is through the support of companies such as Peoples Gas that we are able to continue our mission of providing year-round programming, activities and events for our athletes." 

Peoples Gas President and CEO Charles Matthew will lead company employees, their family members and friends in taking the plunge into icy Lake Michigan at 10:30 a.m. Participants will be wearing fun accessories to show their Polar Plunge spirit.

"We're thrilled to participate in our second Polar Plunge and show our support for the 6,800 athletes and their families served by Special Olympics," said Michelle Rindt, vice president – customer service, Peoples Gas. "It is part of our ongoing commitment to the communities where we do business, and where our customers and employees live and work."

Last year was the first year Peoples Gas participated in the Polar Plunge as Team Kevin. More than 60 employees, friends and family raised more than $20,000 for Special Olympics. Peoples Gas is expected to be the second largest corporate sponsor of this year's event.

Team Kevin has a special place in employees' hearts. Kevin Stapleton is the older brother of recent Peoples Gas retiree Mark Stapleton, who participated in the inaugural Special Olympics in 1968. He still has all his awards from that event and subsequent competitions. Peoples Gas employees were so touched by his story and named their team in his honor to show support for Special Olympics and the participating athletes.

"Our community involvement strives to support programs that contribute to the overall well-being of, and make a difference in, our communities," said Andy Hesselbach, vice president – construction, Peoples Gas. "Last year, our employees donated nearly 4,000 volunteer hours to various nonprofit organizations."

In addition to sponsoring the Polar Plunge, Peoples Gas will also sponsor the Chicago Special Olympics Spring Games.

Peoples Gas, a subsidiary of WEC Energy Group (WEC), is a regulated natural gas delivery company that serves approximately 830,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in the city of Chicago. You can find more information about natural gas safety, energy efficiency and other energy-related topics at peoplesgasdelivery.com.

@PeoplesGasCHI #PeoplesGasPlungers

About Special Olympics Chicago:

The Special Olympics Chicago program is the largest in the State of Illinois.  The Chicago Program alone is larger than 26 other complete State programs.  Chicago is the birthplace of Special Olympics and is now held in over 170 countries, worldwide. 

Special Olympics provide year-round sports training and competition in a variety of Olympic type sports for children (ages 8 and older) and adults with mental disabilities or closely related developmental disabilities.  The program gives them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendships with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.  In Chicago alone, more than 6,800 athletes are involved in the program.

Since 1969, Special Children's Charities has been the fundraising co-sponsor of Special Olympics Chicago, in partnership with the Chicago Park District.  Special Children's Charities mission statement is to promote, foster and encourage physical and mental health and improvement through athletics, recreational and social activities among youth and adults with disabilities. 


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