Last weekend’s Free the Fuzz event at Parkland Mall was a success, with Red Deerians throwing more than $21,000 in the bucket to support the Special Olympics. Alberta Sheriff Ryan Crawford and Red Deer RCMP Constable Ray Leonhardt volunteered to spend the weekend on scaffolding that had been attached to the roof of Walmart. On the ground below, they were supported by Special Olympics athletes and law enforcement representatives from Alberta Correctional Services, RCMP Dispatch, Calgary Police Service, Alberta Sheriffs, Red Deer RCMP, Alberta Animal Services, and Penhold Municipal Enforcement. There was music and dancing, and a barbeque by donation.
“Red Deer is so supportive of the Special Olympics, and we had a good time making it fun for people to donate,” says Constable Jeff Hewitt with Red Deer RCMP. “Every two hours we had a dance party to favourites like YMCA, the Macarena, Gangnam Style and the Cha Cha Slide, and people from the crowd would join in. In between, the officers on the roof were entertaining the crowds, talking and dancing, encouraging them to donate.”
The two volunteers on the scaffolding spent the entire weekend up there, pulling out winter sleeping bags when the nights grew chilly. The ground party went from 9 am to 9 pm Friday and Saturday, and 9 am to 4 pm on Sunday. As an added treat, RCMP and Alberta Sheriffs brought police cruisers and let kids explore the insides and play with the sirens.
Free the Fuzz is organized by the Law Enforcement Torch Run, and participants volunteer their time outside of their regular work schedule. All donations go straight to the Special Olympics. Free the Fuzz was sponsored by Walmart, E & D Scaffolding, The Keg, Cora Restaurant, Maple Leaf Foods and Starbucks.