Polar Plunge raises over $100K for Special Olympics Ontario

(Photo by Chris Taylor)

Organizers are thrilled with the turnout for this year’s Polar Plunge for Special Olympics, the first in-person event in Chatham since before the pandemic.

Sergeant Jason Herder with the Chatham-Kent Police Service says Saturday’s event at the Sons of Kent brewery brought in over $100,000.

“It’s beyond anything we ever could have envisioned this becoming. Our thanks is to the community, we’ve had over 1,300 donations from the community in Chatham-Kent. Our sponsors, all local businesses, it’s huge. It’s unbelievable, and we couldn’t have done it without Chatham-Kent’s support.”

More than 150 people took part in Saturday’s event, with both an afternoon and evening plunge.

Herder says this year’s plunge was nothing short of legendary, and may have broken some provincial fundraising records.

Herder took over the Polar Plunge reins from Sergeant Mike Currie seven years ago, and says the success of this event ties back to his mentor, who passed away in 2022.

“Every event that we did, even after he retired, we’d always get a coffee after.” Herder says Currie, who he refers to as a father figure, would give suggestions on different things they could try to make the fundraiser even more successful.

“Losing Mike was huge, it was sudden, it was unexpected, his void was certainly felt. I still think he was working some magic for us from somewhere, to put the numbers we did up, that wasn’t without Mike.”

This was the first year the event was held at the Sons of Kent, a partnership Herder hopes will continue for years to come.

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