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Results blow fundraising goal ‘out of the water’
Chatham Daily News
Const. Jason Herder was so thrilled with the results of the Chatham-Kent Police Service’s first Polar Plunge, he braved the chilly waters twice.
While he admits it was colder the second time, overall, the organizer of the event, said, “I couldn’t be happier, I’m just completely overwhelmed.”
Prior to anyone leaping into a pool of frigid water in front of the St. Clair College HealthPlex in Chatham on Saturday, Herder announced $13,600 was raised, which will go to Special Olympics Ontario.
He said not only was the $10,000 goal beat, “we blew it out of the water.
“Pun intended,” he added.
Herder is pleased with the support from fellow police officers and emergency services, which included a team of local EMS personnel, as well as the community at-large.
“Right from the beginning, we said this was about bringing our local law enforcement and emergency personnel together with the community,” Herder said.
The polar plunge will be back again next year at St. Clair’s HealthPlex around the same time, he said.
Chief Gary Conn had ‘the honour’ of being the first person to take the plunge.
“We’ll keep our fingers crossed and hope and pray that everything goes well,” he laughed.
Conn was impressed with the participation in the event by more than 40 people and the results.
“I’m so proud of our officers and this is a real testament, not just to our officers, but to our community,” the chief said.
Logan Pillsworth, president of Thames Students Inc.,
said all members of the student government at the Chatham campus along with 20 other students stepped up to take part.
He admits there was some hesitancy when some students were asked if they would be willing to jump into a pool during the winter.
“Once we told them it was for Special Olympics, everyone said, ‘That would be awesome to do, we’ll support that.’”
Pillsworth, a second-year student in the powerline tech program, is a veteran of polar plunges, having participated last year in similar events in Kingsville and Windsor.
His advice to others is: “When you jump in, try not to scream as much as you can.”
He added, “besides that, have a lot of warm clothes for afterwards and go straight to the showers.”
Constables Destiny Pailey and Danica Quenneville, who joined the CKPS less than a year ago, decided to take the icy plunge together in full uniform.
“My body went into shock,” Pailey said, adding, “I lost my breath, my lungs kind of closed up on me.”
Having done ice baths through participating in competitive sports over the years, Pailey said this was coldest experience she’s ever had.
“That was a whole new level of shock.”
But, the rookie officer was happy to help out a good cause.
Ashley Campbell and Brodie Van Dongen, were part of the GoodLife Fitness team, as well as first-time participates in a polar plunge.
When asked if she felt the water temperature of the pool before going in, Campbell said, “No, I’m trying to not even look at it.”
A long-time friend of Const. Herder, when he asked her to participate and told her it would benefit Special Olympics, she said, “I’m all over that.”
Campbell added doing a polar plunge is something that’s been on her bucket list.
Van Dongen said, “I’m not really too sure what to expect, but I’m really excited do this.”
He added his only concern is “dealing with the cold once we’re out of the water.”
See article and pictures here.