Seymour pool shop fundraiser makes a splash


Dwight Hendrix knows what it takes to be a successful swimmer, having competed in the sport in high school and college.

He also knows what it takes to run a business, as he has owned Hendrix Pool & Patio Inc. in Seymour for 40 years.

That means he knows how to install pools and pretty much anything else involved in “building paradise one backyard at a time.”

He also knows how to sing and play guitar.

After Saturday’s 40-year anniversary celebration kickoff event at the shop, he knows what it feels like to jump into nearly 50-degree water for a good cause.

The inaugural Arctic Plunge gave people an opportunity to congratulate Hendrix on 40 years in business and help Special Olympics Indiana Jackson County at the same time.

A donation to the nonprofit organization, which provides year-round sports training and competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for individuals with intellectual disabilities ages 8 and up, allowed people of any age to take a cold dip in the 5-foot-deep in-ground pool outside the shop at 495 Burkart Blvd.

Hendrix and his three sons, Kadin, Carter and Noah, were the first ones to do it. Then others who could brave the cold water followed suit.

“One of the things somebody will say, ‘In 40 years, what’s your greatest accomplishment?’ because I’ve done a lot of things,” Hendrix said. “My greatest accomplishment is my kids. I really want to thank the community, my family and my kids, my friends. I cannot believe it has been 40 years. I really think it has been 20 and I went through a time warp somewhere, maybe 15. I don’t know.”

Saturday’s event also included a foam party, live music, a disc jockey, a food truck, an above-ground pool raffle, a ribbon cutting and cake and cupcakes.

Choosing Special Olympics to benefit from the event was Carter’s idea, stemming from his involvement with Unified track and field when he was a student at Seymour High School. The collaborative effort between the Indiana High School Athletic Association and Special Olympics Indiana provides sports training and competition in an inclusive environment that allows friendships to form.

“Just growing up at the high school and doing Unified track and having some friends that have special needs, too, it’s personal,” Carter said.

His brothers were on board with helping Special Olympics, too. Donations and fundraisers help keep the program free for athletes.

“We’ve always had friends that have had special needs, and just being able to hang out with them, seeing their point of view, this is a great way to give back because at the end of the day, this is going to be their way of competing, and it’s just fun for them. It’s fun for everyone,” Noah said.

“I think it’s a pretty great organization because it gives them a chance to do all of the regular stuff that we get to do as a regular group,” Kadin said. “It gives them a chance to compete and learn how to have fun and just be a team sport.”

The idea to do an Arctic Plunge was perfect because Special Olympics Indiana’s signature fundraiser is the Polar Plunge, which challenges individuals and teams to take an icy dip to demonstrate their commitment to the cause.

“When we were younger, we went to Florida, and whoever could jump in the ocean first, it was cold in the wintertime, so it was just kind of crazy,” Carter said.

He said it felt good to jump in the pool, but it felt better to get out. Noah agreed.

“I’m not going to lie, I was kind of nervous getting in there because I was like, ‘Oh, this is going to be really cool,’” Noah said. “But to get in there, though, it felt good, and then getting out, even better.”

Kadin said he jumped in next to the edge of the pool so he could easily get out.

“Then I jumped in again because I got one of the inside store workers to go in with me,” he said.

The event also was important to the brothers because they were able to celebrate their father’s achievements with his business. Carter and Kadin both work for him.

“I think he has done pretty good for himself. Forty years, that’s a real long time to be in business, and it’s a family business, so I’d say we’re all doing pretty good,” Kadin said.

“I agree. We’re in a family business, and we don’t really realize it until something big like this happens, 40 years,” Carter said.

Noah is serving with the U.S. Marine Corps, but he was able to return home to join the celebration.

“It just so happened that it lined up that I was taking leave because my birthday was yesterday (Feb. 9), and he was like, ‘Well, we’re doing this polar plunge event. You want to show up?’” Noah said. “I was like, ‘Of course. It’s an event I can’t miss.’ I think it’s great that he has been able to stay in business this long. It’s very hard to imagine that he has been in business almost double my lifetime.”

As the 40-year anniversary celebration continues in 2024, Dwight said to stay tuned for other special events planned that also will provide opportunities to support local charities. Any groups interested in benefiting should call the pool shop at 812-522-7387.

He also said the Arctic Plunge may wind up being an annual event.

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