March 23rd, 2018

Hatters brave icy waters for polar plunge

By Mo Cranker on March 12, 2018.

Dale Jones, Jenna LaMontagne and Kathleen Gagnier hold hands Saturday as they leap during the second annual Polar Plunge held near the Family Leisure Centre. This years event raised an estimated $15,000 to support Special Olympic athletes. --NEWS PHOTO MO CRANKER

While most Hatters were enjoying the warmer weather this weekend, it sure meant a lot to a select 65 taking part in the annual Polar Plunge in support of the Special Olympics.

Last year’s event was the first in Medicine Hat, and people fought with -30 degree weather and sharp winds while jumping into the pond near the Family Leisure Centre.

This year, temperatures hovered around 0 degrees, a big break for plungers says organizer Aaron Brevik.

“The warm weather is really great for everyone jumping in today,” he said before the plunge. “Last year, it was freezing, and it was really hard on people, even with the hot tubs. This year it’s great for everyone jumping in, and for everyone who comes out to watch.”

The plunge raised roughly $15,000 last year for Special Olympic Athletes, and Brevik says this year’s event will likely raise the same amount.

“We have around 65 people registered this year and we expect a couple more to walk up and sign up last minute,” said Brevik. “It’s just amazing to see a group of people this size raise so much money for a good cause. We had some groups sign up as a team and really contribute to the total, but everyone really stepped up again this year.”

Brevik says supporting the Special Olympics is important to many police officers and community members.

“This is an event where you get to pick where the money goes and stays,” he said. “This money is going to help our athletes do more. It will help them get equipment and jerseys, or maybe help them travel. It’s important to support our Special Olympic athletes in any way we can.”

Brevik says the police plan on running the event again next year.

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