Longtime 'Bear' Rose Dagg quilts 25 years of Plunge memories

posted Thu, Feb 4, 2016 by Jon Buzby

When Bears gather this weekend in Rehoboth Beach to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Polar Bear Plunge, they will certainly talk about past Plunges and create new memories from another spectacular weekend.

But only one Bear will take home a permanent reminder of just how special this fundraiser has become and how much it means to the 3,700 athletes of Special Olympics Delaware.

On Wednesday afternoon, Rose Dagg stopped by the early check-in at the SODE office and brought with her a project that was five months in the making: a quilt commemorating all 25 sweatshirt graphics used during the event's history. She proudly presented it to SODE executive director Ann Grunert.

"This is really a one-of-a-kind gift and expression of support for all the organization does," Ann, a 25-year Bear, said, blushing. "It is really so generous."

The quilt was not put together without its challenges. Rose used some original sweatshirts her family has earned plunging over the years -- "I got to clean out my closets," she joked -- but in some cases there was only one sample left and so couldn't cut those. 

"I had to copy some of the older sweatshirts onto other sweatshirt material," explained Rose, who will plunge for the 14th time on Sunday. "I couldn't cut the old ones of which there were just one sample left and so that took me the longest. And then I had to send them to a print shot so they could copy them for me."

Rose then put it all together over a period of two weeks ... and decided to start over.

"I ripped it out and started all over again," she recalled, grinning. "I just didn't like how it looked. But the second time it just fell into place and turned out beatiful!"

Rose, whose son Steve competes with the Newark Dragons, was inspired to create the quilt as a way to commemorate the anniversary Plunge.

"I just was thinking how cool it would be to have all of the 25 years of sweatshirt designs," she explained. "And I wanted to give it to Ann as a gift to her for all that she does for the athletes here in Delaware."

Ann was overwhelmed by Rose's generosity.

"It is a spectacular display of her love for the organization and all that she has done to make a difference in it," Ann said.