Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

March 8, 2013

Local teenager freezes for a heartwarming cause

Kokomo — India Piel turned her computer on with a melodic ding and crunched numbers from months worth of fundraising.

But Piel is not an executive. In fact, she’s barely even a teenager.

Piel is a 13-year-old honor roll student who has made it her mission to do good for others.

Piel doesn’t cut corners, doesn’t take short cuts, and if her dog ate her homework, she wouldn’t use it as an excuse.

Instead, she would see it as a chance to improve her work and care for the guilty dog.

That’s the kind of human heart Piel has. And it beats to raise money for Special Olympics — $5,057 worth of money just this year.

While other kids may fantasize what they’d do with those dollars, Piel only sees dollar signs as a means to help provide happiness to Special Olympics athletes like her brother and cousin.

“My brother and cousin weren’t able to play basketball for Special Olympics one year because [the organization] didn’t have enough money,” Piel, who is a middle school cheerleader, said. “I never wanted to see them that sad again so I decided to help raise money.”

Four years from the day she decided to make a difference, Piel has made more than $10,000 for Special Olympics. The shocking twist is that Piel doesn’t just hand a check over to the organization. She volunteers to plunge into frigid waters at the organization’s annual Polar Plunge fundraiser.

Although Piel has plunged in costumes ranging from a Super Plunger to this year’s hot dog costume, it’s the look of leadership Piel wears in her heart that has made her a major success in Special Olympics fundraising efforts.

“I guess I would say I care for others more than I do for myself,” Piel said. “I don’t like to think of myself first. I like to think of my family first.”

Piel’s passion to put others first has earned her a top spot in fundraising in Indiana.

Piel placed third in fundraising for Special Olympics Indiana this year. And she became the state’s youngest Super Plunger — a title reserved for people who raise at least $4,000.

“It’s really amazing; I just can’t believe I’m raising this much money for something that’s great like Special Olympics,” Piel said, her voice echoing with modest pride. “It makes me feel really happy to know people are willing to donate for a good cause. Kokomo is a small town and everyone knows each other, so it’s nice they all want to help each other.”

Piel made the icy plunge into a pond in Kokomo last month for Special Olympics, but as a Super Plunger, Piel also got the chance to plunge in Indianapolis. But she said helping the organization and people she loves is better than plunging in freezing waves — although she admits that it’s a “fun rush.”

Piel said she thinks she’ll grow up to remember her accomplishments as something that helped her grow into a caring and compassionate adult.

“[When I look back at what I’m doing now,] I’ll think I was doing a good thing,” the teen said. “I’ll think it helped me understand people better, and it helped me understand the importance to be nice to people and not be selfish and not take credit for things. I’ll be proud that I wasn’t thinking about the money, but that I was thinking about what I was raising the money for.”

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • NWS - KT082314 - Gaming revenues - PIC 1 Gaming revenues rush over border as Illinois expands slots INDIANAPOLIS – Beer and barbecue aren’t the only draws to Daddy-O’s Bar & Grill in the small town of Paris, Illinois, 15 miles from the Indiana border. The prospect of winning pulls in customers, as well.Since the neighborhood bar installed five vide

    August 23, 2014 4 Photos

  • U.S. 31 lane closure Monday The Indiana Department of Transportation will close the northbound right lane of U.S. 31 from the S.R. 931 flyover bridge at mile marker 156.0 north one-half mile to the 156.5 mile marker on Monday. Construction activities will begin at 7:30 a.m. The

    August 23, 2014

  • Camper rally 01 Dozens visit Peru for first vintage camper rally PERU — Mike Blackowiak said he’s used to creating some buzz when he pulls into a campground. But, then again, turning heads is one of the perks of owning an old-school 1963 Cree camper like his. “New campers — yeah, they’re nice, but you pull into a

    August 22, 2014 3 Photos

  • Floodgate trouble drops Lake Shafer by 20 inches A malfunction at a northern Indiana reservoir's dam has dropped the popular lake nearly 20 inches below its normal water level.

    August 22, 2014

  • Serena Youth Center seeking donations to furnish house The Serena Youth Center is looking for area businesses, churches and individuals to help furnish the center for the young women who will be living there. Kokomo’s first center for young women, ages 18 to 25, will soon open its doors, and the house on

    August 22, 2014

  • Water Color Class 06 Visual arts classes inspire adults to be creative Editor's note: This is one of several stories that will be published Sunday about how various groups are sharing their artistic talents with others. Eighty-six-year-old Dixie Bennett walked around her makeshift classroom inside Artworks Gallery Thurs

    August 22, 2014 3 Photos

  • Driver in Thursday crash cited for six traffic violations Kokomo police gave the driver of the jeep involved in Thursday afternoon’s crash on North Ohio Street six citations, including driving with a suspended driver’s license.

    August 22, 2014

  • 8 inches of overnight rain floods part of Indiana INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Heavy rains that dumped more than half a foot of rain overnight in some places triggered widespread flooding Friday in some central and northern Indiana counties. State police closed a section of Interstate 69 in both directions

    August 22, 2014

  • Purdue Security Video Purdue posts disputed video of photographer online

    Purdue University has posted online a surveillance video that college newspaper editors say shows a staff photographer being roughed up by police near where a student had been fatally shot and stabbed. Purdue posted the vi

    August 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sobriety checkpoints planned for today in Kokomo The Howard County Sheriff Department announced deputies will conduct a multi-jurisdictional enforcement checkpoint targeting impaired drivers in Howard County today. Officers from the Kokomo Police Department and troopers from the Indiana State Polic

    August 22, 2014

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Furry Roommates: Dorms Allowing Cats and Dogs Chase Rice Defends Bro-Country 'Jersey Shore Massacre' Pokes Fun at MTV Series Raw: Wash. Mudslides Close Roads, Trap Motorists DC's Godfather of Go-Go Honored Ukraine Calls Russian Convoy a 'direct Invasion' Girl Meets Her 'one in the World' Match Coal Gas Boom in China Holds Climate Risks Japan Landslide Rescuers Struggle in Heavy Rain Raw: Severe Floods, Fire Wrecks Indiana Homes Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future Raw: Russian Aid Convoy Arrives in Ukraine Okla. Policeman Accused of Sex Assaults on Duty Dominican Republic Bans Miley Cyrus Concert Raw: Israeli Air Strike in Gaza Raw: Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in Malaysia Attorney: Utah Eatery Had Other Chemical Burn
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries