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Police warming up for annual Sudbury Polar Plunge

Jumping into the lake and ‘Freezin For A Reason” is all in support of the Special Olympics   
Greater Sudbury Police Service Chief Paul Pedersen was one of the speakers to support the polar plunge and promised he will be jumping into Lake Ramsey.

Greater Sudbury Police Service members are warming up in preparation for their annual polar plunge into the freezing waters of Ramsey Lake. 

The event is all set to take place on March 2 at the Ramsey Lake Boat Launch. The event will be in support of Law Enforcement Torch Run and Polar Plunge for the Special Olympics.

An awareness event was held Jan. 23 to let organizers and participants get ready for the fundraiser, which includes participation from Greater Sudbury Police Service, the Sudbury Police Association, Special Olympics and HOT 93.5 radio.

An awareness event was launched in Sudbury on Jan. 23 in preparation for the annual Greater Sudbury Polar Plunge on  March 2 at Ramsey Lake .

One of the key supporters in the event is GSPS Chief Paul Pedersen, who told the gathering that Special Olympics is the charity of choice for police chiefs in Ontario. He said the polar plunge was revived last year as the community was coming out of the pandemic. 

Pedersen said organizers were eager to see how successful it could be.

"In 2023, The Greater Sudbury Polar Plunge raised over $50,000. How about that? That was with funds and  in-kind donations," he said. 

Pedersen said the success of the Sudbury event is due to having so many people step up, volunteer and take part.

"And I really want to thank all the athletes that are here. All of the people that volunteer, all of the parents, all of the coaches, all of the friends, and many of which are our very own police officers and police personnel that help out this Special Olympics and specifically, the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics. It engages law enforcement and engages policing worldwide," he said.

Pedersen pledged that he too will take part in the annual plunge and encouraged others to give it a try.

The chief also thanked the numerous sponsors in the community who provide goods and services to make the fundraiser a success.

Adding to the event this year he said there will be a 50/50 draw starting in February with all the proceeds staying in the community. He said more details on that will be announced soon.

Greater Sudbury Police Service Sgt. Hally Willmott is the lead officer for Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics and encouraged the community to support the March 2 polar plunge.

Also speaking in support of the event was GSPS Sgt. Hally Willmott, who is the Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) lead for police in Sudbury.  She said she was pleased with the year-round work of the LETR committee, which is made up of police officers and civilians who commit time and effort to see the fundraising events succeed.

"I'm looking forward to an amazing event; looking forward to raising more money this year. I believe the goal that was set was $75,000. So I'm hoping that we hit it."

Lynn Houle, a Special Olympics coordinator in Sudbury, said she was “thrilled and chilled” to see the group turnout preparing for the local polar plunge.

She said it was one of the "coolest" fundraisers in the North and important to recognize the Special Olympics.  

Lynn Houle, a Special Olympics coordinator in Sudbury, said it is important to recognize how the Special Olympics contributes to the lives of the people with special needs.

"It is certainly the coolest way to raise awareness and fundraise for our athletes seeing the plungers in their costumes, to cheerful spirits and creative jumps. And there are many creative jumps out there. It is certainly the highlight of our winter," said Houle.

"Special Olympics caters to people with an intellectual disability; different ability," Houle added.

She also spoke about the importance of the programs supported by Special Olympics in Sudbury.

"We offer 18 Sports throughout the year to 300 plus registered athletes from the school programs and our sports programs in Greater Sudbury. We are grateful and thankful for all that you do. These monies raised give our athletes the opportunity to achieve their goals and showcase their abilities," said Houle. 

Participants are encouraged to register online and then collect pledges from friends and supporters.

Len Gillis is a reporter at


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Len Gillis

About the Author: Len Gillis

Graduating from the Journalism program at Canadore College in the 1970s, Gillis has spent most of his career reporting on news events across Northern Ontario with several radio, television and newspaper companies. He also spent time as a hardrock miner.
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