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First responders participate in Brantford-Brant Polar Plunge 

Local NewsFirst responders participate in Brantford-Brant Polar Plunge 

First responders from the Brantford Police, Brant OPP, and Brant Paramedics took a dip into the ice-cold water to help raise money for the Special Olympics Ontario during the Brantford-Brant Polar Plunge on Wednesday, March 7, 2024.

Around 300 people made up of first responders, civilians, students and educators alike, all gathered at North Park Collegiate and Vocational School to watch the community Polar Plunge experience.

During the event, a large metal bin was filled with ice-cold water, sitting at around 46 degrees Fahrenheit (seven degrees Celsius), making for an intimidating Wednesday afternoon as the air temperature sat just around nine degrees Celsius.

Throughout the community plunge, spectators had the option to add a bag of ice to the water in exchange for a five-dollar donation to the cause.

Brant Opp Cst. Jonathan Bueckert, Law Enforcement Torch Run coordinator for the OPP, and various North Park students add in five bags of ice during the Brantford-Brant Polar Plunge on Wednesday, March 7, 2024.

With over 55 participants, it was Deputy Chief Jason Saunders of Brantford Police Service, Jim Kruis, community coordinator for Special Olympics Ontario, and Insp. Andrea Quenneville, Brant OPP detachment commander, who were the first three people to jump in, followed by Brant OPP Const. Sylvie Gagnon and Isabelle Towne.

Many came dressed up in onesies, colourful outfits, and even brought swim floaties along for the plunge.

A Prince Charles Elementary School teacher hypes up his students during the Brantford-Brant Polar Plunge on Wednesday, March 7, 2024.

One-by-one, the rest of the participants, including members of the Hamilton Tiger Cats and Child and Family Services of Grand Erie, took the brisk dip before being wrapped up in towels and changing into warm clothes.

Students cheered and clapped, especially when educators and fellow students braced the cold with a cannon ball.

Hamilton Tiger Cats’ players, Mason Bennett, defensive end, and Coulter Woodmansey, offensive lineman, jumped in alongside Geoff Connor, Hamilton Tiger Cats’ Pigskin Pete, during the Brantford-Brant Polar Plunge on Wednesday, March 7, 2024.

Brant Opp Cst. Jonathan Bueckert, Law Enforcement Torch Run coordinator for the OPP, who over the past few weeks participated in eight polar plunges since January 9 in support of the cause, said that he was happy to have such a great turnout.

“I’m very, very pleased that so many people came out to support this because all we want to do is get positive exposure for Special Olympics, it’s our charity of choice and this is what we’re all about.” he said. “I’m really grateful to the community for coming together and donating. It’s been an incredible pleasure to be doing this for the past few months; there were a couple sleepless nights, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

Members of the Child and Family Services of Grand Erie prepare to jump into the frigid water during the Brantford-Brant Polar Plunge on Wednesday, March 7, 2024.

Before the event even took place, the Polar Plunge team surpassed their goal of $10,000 with a whopping $20,000 for the cause. Seventy-five per cent of funds raised are eligible to stay within the Brantford-Brant community.

Employees from Brantford’s World Gym, brave the 45 degree Fahrenheit water during the Brantford-Brant Polar Plunge on Wednesday, March 7, 2024.

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