The Polar Plunge fundraiser helps 104 communities across Alberta with every plunge making the difference for more that 3,000 Special Olympic athletes
Presented by the Law Enforcement Torch Run anyone is challenged to participate in the fundraiser. This year on its 10th anniversary the Polar Plunge events across Alberta will be held virtually because of the pandemic.
According the Special Olympics Alberta website in 2020, 590 Polar Plungers raised $197,000 in support of Special Olympics Alberta.
Wetaskiwin’s team for the Polar Plunge and annual Special Olympics Alberta fundraising is “Free our Finest”.
“This is our first year doing this,” says Nick Sahl, a Peace Officer for the County of Wetaskiwin and member of the Free our Finest team. “Normally we do the other two events, the hockey tournament between the fire and police, and then we have our three day Free our Finest event in the fall. But because of COVID, we haven’t been able to do those and we haven’t been able to raise any money. So our group has decided to do the Polar Plunge, which is something that the Special Olympics has allowed this year.”
The Free our Finest event in the fall and fundraiser for Special Olympics Alberta includes donations, a dance night, a movie night and a hockey tournament between police, fire, paramedics and community members over three days.
The Wetaskiwin Free our Finest team will be participating in the virtual Polar Plunge X event, which includes them being hosed down in the snow, via Live Stream Feb. 28, 2021 at 9:30 a.m.
“Our group has decided to go and each get sprayed by fire hoses individually, so we are separate but we are all doing it as a team,” says Sahl.
The Live Stream can be found on the “Free our Finest – Supporting Special Olympics Wetaskiwin” Facebook page.
“Most of this is funding, but a lot of it is also awareness about what the Special Olympics is and bringing light that it is out there and people can help out and donate,” says Sahl.
In addition to their fundraising for the Polar Plunge X, as a bonus, the Free our Finest team decided every $500 raised, a member of the team does a snow angel.
“Normally this wouldn’t be a huge deal,” Sahl says, “but we’ve also had record-breaking colds.” Sahl says that the day he had to do his snow angel it was -40 degrees outside.
The team began their fundraising on Feb. 4, 2021 and they have already raised $4,500.
The seven Free our Finest team members participating in the polar plunge are:
• Nick Sahl, Peace Officer County of Wetaskiwin;
• Dan Rabel, Peace Officer County of Wetaskiwin;
• Shawn Moffitt, paramedic- Associated Ambulance;
• Blain Fuller, Special Olympics Coordinator;
• Alex Plant, Deputy Chief Wetaskiwin Fire Services;
• Reid Stegemann, Breton RCMP;
• And Stephen Reid, Wetaskiwin RCMP.
If the team reaches the donation point of $5,000, which Sahl predicts will happen any day now, Wetaskiwin Mayor Tyler Gandam will join Special Olympics Coordinator, Blain Fuller to do a snow angel.
To watch the team of first responders complete their snow angel challenges you can visit the “Free our Finest – Supporting Special Olympics Wetaskiwin” Facebook page.
Donations to the team for Special Olympics Alberta are open until March 13, 2021.