Polar Plunge knocks it out of the water on the first try

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Chatham-Kent police Const. Kelly Helbin was a great sport at the Polar Plunge Saturday, getting a friendly tackle into icy waters from participant Dave McIntyre from Chatham, who raised $400 for the event.

 

For a first-time event, the Chatham-Kent Police Service Polar Plunge smashed its fundraising goal and provided a teeth-chattering good time for participants, raising approximately $14,000 for the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Ontario.

The original goal was $10,000.

Held Saturday morning at the St. Clair College in front of the Healthplex under sunny skies, organizer Const. Jason Herder couldn’t be happier with the results.

“There was a dozen of us working on this behind the scenes with the Chatham-Kent Police Service and the TSI (St. Clair Thames Students Inc.) board at St. Clair College,” Herder said. “We had 42 people register online and we had at least dozen show up that weren’t registered online.”

He said when Windsor did its first plunge four years ago at the St. Clair College campus, they had 25 registered “plungers” so to have 50 at their first event here is a huge accomplishment.

The weather couldn’t have been better for the event, with the sunshine and unseasonably warm weather, which saw participants jump off a platform into a pool, some with more finesse than others.

“Mother Nature definitely paid us a favour, I’m not gonna lie,” Herder joked. “Two and a half weeks ago, I was on the phone (with Special Olympics contacts) and the exact question I asked was, ‘It’s currently -30C – can we set another date for the plunge?’ But we looked at the extended forecast and said we’re not changing anything.”

All of the money raised goes to Special Olympics. Herder said the committee found corporate sponsors for the event, including TSI and the St. Clair College Alumni, and each plunger got pledges to be involved.

Herder said they plan on making the plunge an annual event.

“There’s not a doubt in my mind we will be back here next year. This was awesome and now the challenge is how do we take it to that next level. How do we make it bigger and how do we get more people involved,” Herder noted. “I hope everyone sees today’s success and we get those phone calls from people saying how do we get on board?

“Pun intended, we blew it out of the water. The members of the force, including our chief and deputy chief who jumped today and the EMS here today, we all volunteered our time for a good cause.”

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