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Polar Plunge for Special Olympics is a hit (31 photos)

Record number of b-r-r-r-ave plungers took part

Special Olympians were joined by Emergency Services, brave citizens and a large crowd of spectators at the Barrie waterfront for the annual Barrie Polar Plunge for Special Olympics Ontario.

Over 60 plungers registered for Saturday's event to surpass the fundraising goal of $10,000. 

Barrie Police Chief Kimberley Greenwood did her second leap for the cause into the icy waters off Centennial Beach with partner Olympian Jason Helmond. 

"It's always a build up. I can't say I did any special training but it is lots of fun to be here with our Olympians," said Chief Greenwood.

Barrie Firefighters in special suits were in the water to ensure jumpers were safe and could quickly exit. 

County of Simcoe Paramedics were on standby and cheering duties along with Barrie Police, Auxiliary Officers and Barrie Firefighters.

Mother Nature shook her snow globe for the event with a relentless squall to add extra authenticity to the plunge slogan 'Freezin' for a Reason.'

Interim Barrie Fire Chief Cory Mainprize took the plunge for the first time after receiving a challenge from Chief Greenwood. 

"Kim called me out and I had to go," laughed Mainprize. "No matter how much you think you're ready for it, you're not. That water is cold. It is a big shock. But it's for a good cause. It's for a good reason. For the few moments of discomfort it's worthwhile."

To make it a family affair, the Fire Chief's two children jumped in just before their dad. 

The Polar Plunge was not without hijinks. Some plungers wore costumes including Angry Birds, ballerinas and Barrie Police Sgt. Dave Luce dressed like flamboyant workout guru Richard Simmons.

A friendly rivalry between Barrie Police media relations officer Const. Sarah Bamford and Rock 95 newsman Brett Glover played out after Bamford pushed Glover in last year.

Seeking 'revenge,' Glover challenged Bamford to take the plunge this year for the first time and she wound up getting 'pushed' in by Glover.  

It was all in fun for a good cause, said Bamford.

"It was a great experience. It was for a great cause. I'm thrilled to see the turnout. I think we had more plungers this year than we did last year. It was awesome," said Bamford, who found the plunge to be an eye opener. 

"Now that I've done it I can say it's a bucket list for some people to do."

She added, "It puts things into perspective. How cold the water really is once you're in it and the assistance you need to get out."






Sue Sgambati

About the Author: Sue Sgambati

Sue has had a 30-year career in journalism working for print, radio and TV. She is a proud member of the Barrie community.
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