Great Neck’s Lipinsky holds annual car wash for Special Olympics

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Great Neck's Erin Lipinski (center) at his second annual car wash last year with volunteers and members of the Vigilant Fire Co. (Photo courtesty of Vigilant Fire Company).

Great Neck resident Erin Lipinsky is holding his third annual car wash to benefit Special Olympics this Sunday. 

Lipinsky, 43, has been fund-raising for the Special Olympics for three years, raising money in the foundation’s name at the Town of North Hempstead’s Polar Plunge. The car wash will kick off his efforts to fund-raise for the Plunge in 2020.

George Motchkavitz, ex-chief of the Great Neck Alert Fire Department, which accompanies Lipinsky on Polar Plunges and helps advertise the car wash, has known Lipinsky for 35 years.

“Erin was 8 years old when he walked in the firehouse one day with a flat tire on his bike,” Motchkavitz said. “We patched it up, filled it with air, and I’ve known him ever since.”

As he grew older, Lipinsky became a member of the Great Neck Spirits, the village’s official basketball team for the Special Olympics, and currently works at the Parkwood Sports Complex in Great Neck.  

He has also been honored by Town of North Hempstead supervisor Judy Bosworth for his efforts at the Polar Plunge this past April, where he raised $12,000. 

By his own estimate, Lipinsky has already raised $1,750 for this year alone. 

“I’m going for the record every year” Lipinsky said.

Rebecca Strickland, associate director of development for the Special Olympics of New York’s Long Island region, said that Lipinsky raised $14,000 in his first year, a record for the Polar Plunge.

“For the past three years, he’s been the top fund-raiser for Special Olympics athletes of New York at the Polar Plunge,” Strickland said. “And each year he wants to beat his record.”

Strickland added that the chapter would be rallying around Lipinsky in time for its 50th anniversary in 2020.

Motchkavitz said Lipinsky works constantly when the car wash or Polar Plunge comes around, including asking local stores to put up fliers, soliciting donations and setting up a website for his efforts.

“Erin’s been a survivor his whole life, and while he has his issues, his shortcomings, he tries to do everything he can do,” Motchkavitz said. “He’s so dedicated and so incredibly proud of what he does.” 

The car wash to benefit Special Olympics will take place at Great Neck’s Vigilant Fire Company at 83 Cuttermill Road in Great Neck, and runs from noon to 4 p.m. The cost is $10 for cars, $15 for trucks, and $5 for motorcycles.

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