VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Feb. 17, 2021 – As with most things over the past year, this year’s polar plunge for Special Olympics looked a little different. While not rushing into the Atlantic Ocean with thousands of other plungers, Team Virginia Natural Gas (VNG) rallied together virtually, and along with team members, friends and families, raised $12,304 for Special Olympics.
For 2021, VNG was able to donate $27,304 through employee fundraising and company contributions to help fund programs for local and state Special Olympics and generate awareness for the organization.
Organizers of the annual event decided to go virtual for 2021 due to health concerns from COVID-19. Team VNG got into the spirit of “plunging their way” and participated by plunging into the James River, dumping buckets of ice water over their heads, jumping into freezing pools with family members and waddling into the Chesapeake Bay in a penguin suit.
Robert Duvall, VNG president, took the plunge into his pool, floaty in hand, after employees meet their fundraising goal. According to Duvall, the company is committed to making a difference in the communities it serves and proudly puts its energy into events like this.
“We are a citizen in the communities we serve and our employees have a long history with this event that we’ve supported for years,” Duvall said. “When the event went virtual, our employees stayed committed to the tradition of plunging, even getting me to plunge, all for a great cause. Our entire VNG family has truly embraced this event.”
This year marks 23 years the company has been involved with the annual Polar Plunge event, joining the local community by braving cold temperatures and the freezing waters of the Atlantic Ocean at Virginia Beach.
Through their efforts, the company and employees have donated nearly $480,000 over the years to support sports training, competitions, leadership opportunities and health services for Special Olympic athletes across Virginia.
Emily MacCartney, community affairs Coordinator for VNG, said that while team members were sad about not being to gather at the oceanfront for the annual plunge, they came together with creative ways to keep employees involved and help with fundraising efforts.
“We had a company challenge that as we hit our goals along the way, different company leaders were required to take a virtual plunge including our president and vice president of operations,” said MacCartney. “It helps that this is part of our culture and the event has grown with us to more than a just dip in the ocean.”
Even though the event was virtual, more than 1,000 virtual plungers helped the Polar Plunge exceed their goal and raised more than $800,000 for the more than 25,000 Special Olympics athletes.
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Virginia Natural Gas is one of four natural gas distribution companies of Southern Company Gas, a wholly owned subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO). Virginia Natural Gas provides clean, safe, reliable and affordable natural gas service to more than 300,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in southeast Virginia. Consistently ranked in the top quartile for customer satisfaction by J.D. Power and Associates, the company also has been recognized by the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy and the Virginia Oil and Gas Association for its safety, innovation, environmental stewardship, community outreach and educational programs, and has been named Local Distribution Company of the year four times since 2015. The company has been ranked by its business customers as one of the most Trusted Business Partners in the utility industry according to Cogent Reports, and as one of the Top Workplaces in Hampton Roads by Inside Business. For more information, visit virginianaturalgas.com and connect with the company on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.
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