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Little Bobsters Take the Penguin Plunge

Bob’s Discount Furniture employees from New Hampshire area stores raise over $4,000 for Special Olympics

Whenever Melissa Ortins used to see Penguin Plunges on the local news, she’d say to herself she would never do that.

All that changed on Sunday, Jan. 26 when a Special Olympics New Hampshire athlete visited her Manchester, New Hampshire store.

Enter Eric Retelle.

For the past 20 years, Eric has participated in Special Olympics and he’s a frequent participant in the Penguin Plunge. Retelle leads a Plunge team called The Mighty Tigers, all 15 members strong. Together, the team raised over $24,500! Great job, team!

Eric Retelle speaks to the team at Bob’s Discount Furniture in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Eric Retelle, captain of The Mighty Tigers, gives a presentation about the Penguin Plunge to the staff at my Manchester, New Hampshire store.

Retelle visited the Manchester, NH store to talk about the Penguin Plunge and what it means to him. 

“He was telling me how fun it was,” said Ortins.

And it was at that moment her mindset towards taking the plunge in cold February waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

“I told Eric we were going to do it, so we’re going to do it,” said Ortins. “And we somehow put it together.”

Eric Retelle and the staff at Bob’s Discount Furniture in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Eric Retelle visited my Manchester, New Hampshire location on Sunday, January 26.

With exactly a week left to create a team and raise funds, Ortins started to recruit her fellow team members from her store and surrounding stores. Her team – Little Bobsters – also had to start fundraising. Each participant in the Penguin Plunge is required to raise at least $350, with $50 of that amount allocated toward the registration fee. 

Ortins and her fellow 10 Little Bobsters reached out to their contacts on Facebook and LinkedIn to raise funds for the Penguin Plunge. She admittedly was a little skeptical at first if the team would be able to meet the minimum amount, but they remained committed to participating and their persistence paid off. By Plunge Day, the team had raised $4,090 in just one week. Congrats to the Little Bobsters for a job well done!

Plunge Day

Bob’s Discount Furniture team members from my Manchester, New Hampshire location.
Team members from my Manchester, New Hampshire store before they took the Penguin Plunge.

The 21st Annual Penguin Plunge was held on Sunday, Feb. 2 at Hampton Beach in Hampton, New Hampshire. Over 500 people took the plunge into the Atlantic and raised $433,000 in the process.

The morning began with a reception and costume contest. The theme of this year’s Penguin Plunge was Nifty Fifties and the plungers were encouraged to wear costumes.

Following the morning festivities, the plungers headed to the beach as they waited for their turn to run into the Atlantic Ocean. The water temperature was a brisk 43 degrees.

“It was actually warmer in the water than outside,” said Ortins.

The Little Bobsters were in the last wave of the day and entered the water with gusto. All of the Little Bobsters who participated in the plunge went underwater except for our camera guy – and I thank you for that!

The Bob’s Discount Furniture team running towards the Atlantic Ocean.
And they’re off!
 Bob’s Discount Furniture employees and fellow Penguin Plunge participants make their way to the Atlantic Ocean at Hampton Beach in New Hampshire.
 Look at those waves!
Bob’s Discount Furniture employees Amanda Depelteau and Melissa Ortins take the Penguin Plunge for Special Olympics New Hampshire
Amanda Depelteau, sales associate, Manchester, NH, and Melissa Ortins enjoying the Penguin Plunge.

Mary Conroy, CEO of Special Olympics New Hampshire, said the Penguin Plunge “tries to create an experience that people would remember and hopefully want to participate in again.” Conroy added that the Penguin Plunge is a great bonding moment for all team members.

“If a group goes in together, they’re more likely to come back than if one person is experiencing it alone,” said Conroy.

Special Olympics New Hampshire

All of the money raised over the Penguin Plunge weekend at Hampton Beach will go to support Special Olympics New Hampshire. There are an estimated 40,000 people with intellectual disabilities in New Hampshire and Special Olympics has made it a goal to reach out to every one of them and their families. Currently, there are 3,004 athletes that participate in 17 sporting events. Special Olympics New Hampshire coordinates 561 annual competitions with the help of over 5,300 volunteers.

Café Collections for a Cause

Special Olympics is my first quarter Café Collections for a Cause organization. You can donate at any of my 120+ stores across the country. At the end of March, I’ll collect all of the donations, provide a dollar-for-dollar match up to $75,000 and then present a BIG check to Special Olympics.

Thank you for all of your generous donations!


I consider myself the luckiest spokespuppet ever because I get to talk about the thing I love the most everyday – furniture! Tufted headboards, rustic finishes, the difference between a sofa and a couch (yes, there is a difference)… I could go on and on. Oh, I just love furniture and I’m SO excited that I have this blog to share my passion with you! It may take me a little longer to create posts – have you ever tried typing with clay hands – but I look forward to talking furniture with you!