Gordon Szol hits the water during the annual fundraising event at the Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Relay Polar Plunge held at Arbour Lake in northwest Calgary on Saturday, February 23, 2019.
Jim Wells / Postmedia
More than 100 people braved the -15 C temperatures Saturday morning to jump into the freezing waters of Arbour Lake.Polar Plunge participants made the icy jump in support of Special Olympics athletes. Some of the first people to make the leap Saturday included deputy Calgary police chiefs Ray Robitaille and Paul Cook.In addition to the Calgary police contingent, others who soaked their uniforms in the plunge included participants from Alberta Corrections, Calgary Community Standards, Calgary Young Offender Centre, Tsuut’ina Nation Police Service and RCMP. Participants also included Special Olympics athlete Leonka Kaluha and Calgary Stampeder Justin Renfrow.Calgary’s Polar Plunge is one of five across Alberta, including one coming up in Red Deer on March 9 and another in Medicine Hat on March 16. The events are part of year-round fundraising efforts through the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Alberta.
Kimberley Pasloske, detachment commander, Airdrie RCMP detachment, holds onto her hat as she hits the water during the Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Relay Polar Plunge held at Arbour Lake in northwest Calgary on Saturday, February 23, 2019.
Jim Wells /
Johnny Byrne, Special Olympics Alberta CEO and president, said the funds raised will support Special Olympics community programs.“We’ve got almost 1,000 athletes in Calgary programs year-round,” he said.“So the money raised in Calgary’s going to support those 1,000 athletes in over 20 programs around the year.”The Calgary plunge had raised more than $40,000 as of midday Saturday, Byrne said.A total of close to 500 plunge participants is expected from this year’s events across the province.Robitaille said this was his third year taking the plunge for the Special Olympics. He called the event a highlight of his year.“The Special Olympics athletes, they truly embody the human spirit, and you see how they get to achieve their dreams through the support of incredible people in law enforcement and the community who are contributing that money,” he said. “Without that, their dreams wouldn’t be able to be realized. It truly is a privilege.”
Greg Alfred after his plunge during the annual fundraising event at the Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Relay Polar Plunge held at Arbour Lake in northwest Calgary on Saturday, February 23, 2019.
Jim Wells /