Free the Fuzz fundraiser exceeds goal
After three days together stranded above Airdrie Walmart Supercentre, peace officer, Steven Benoit, and RCMP Const. Kristine Brousseau managed to agree on one thing, Aug. 12.
They both wanted to go home and shower.
“Then I want a nap,” Benoit said with a chuckle.
The sun was shining, and the two smiled ear-to-ear as they were lifted by a fire truck from their makeshift shelter.
The two volunteers spent Thursday to Sunday camping in a tower hoisted in the parking lot.
The weekend was part of Free the Fuzz, a North American-wide campaign to raise money for Special Olympics.
Shoppers and residents gathered around to watch as the officers were set free and applauded their efforts for helping raise about $18,000 for Special Olympics - $3,000 more than their goal of $15,000.
The money raised will go towards local Special Olympics programs, registration and equipment.
Local businesses provided participants with everything they needed to survive in their tarped-off shelter and tent for the three days, but they snuck down to the store for bathroom breaks and kept busy by interacting with shoppers, even dancing in the tower.
Special Olympics athlete, Justin Nott, was excited to see Benoit and Brousseau come down after raising more money than expected.
He said he enjoyed joining in with the parking lot dance party.
“It’s good fun,” Nott said, noting his favourite songs were from Lady Gaga.
His mother Gail said she was happy with the amount of money raised for Special Olympics after the benefits her son, who has Down syndrome, has received from taking part in the sports.
“It’s gotten him involved in sports where otherwise he wouldn’t have had that opportunity,” she said.
“It gave him the opportunity to grow and achieve goals.”
Both Benoit and Brousseau said they would volunteer again because Special Olympics is a good cause.
“When they can do something they love, it puts a smile on their face and it’s contagious,” Benoit said of the athletes.
“It gives them so many opportunities,” Brousseau added.