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Cold cops, warm hearts

SHIRLEY — At high noon on a blistering summer day last week, five members of the Police Dept. participated in The Ice Bucket Challenge, circa 2016. Lined up on the police station steps, they simultaneously dumped five buckets of ice water over their own heads.

It was a great day to get wet for a good cause.

With temperatures in the 90’s by mid-morning, most of the ice started melting on contact with the super-heated air and the ice-water deluge evaporated fast.

Minutes after the self-imposed soaking, officers’ blue uniforms looked crisp, ready to go.

“We’re drip-drying,” joked Police Chief Thomas Goulden.

Besides the chief, Sgt. Peter Violette and Officers Craig LaPrade, David Lange and Matthew O’Sullivan participated.

The Ice Bucket Challenge, a publicized “selfie” stunt that went viral several years ago as a charity fundraiser became synonymous with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or ALS, and soon gained global recognition. In Massachusetts, major league baseball players and Governor Charlie Baker have accepted the Challenge, as did Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, who then challenged Donald Trump.

Although he had participated before, this time the presidential candidate declined.

Accepting the challenge means dumping a bucket of ice water over one’s head and video documenting the event to circulate via Facebook or other social media, then passing the challenge on to someone else. If the person declines, he or she agrees to donate to the cause instead.

While its precise lineage is unclear, the website Wikipedia traced it to Massachusetts, crediting Boston College students Peter Frates and Pat Quinn as founding fathers of the Ice Bucket Challenge. The two friends were diagnosed with ALS in 2012 and 2013.

Designed to encourage contributions to help fund research aimed at finding a cure, statistics show that donations to ALS research more than doubled during 2014. Prior to the Challenge, public awareness of ALS was “limited,” according to the ALS Association, which reported only about half of the US population had heard of the disease before the Ice Bucket Challenge. Afterward, awareness soared.

The recent Shirley PD bucket brigade was all about keeping that momentum going.

Sponsored by the Shirley Police Association, the Ice Bucket Challenge event was the chief’s idea. “I participated…in New Hampshire,” Goulden said, citing his previous tenure as a police chief there. “I wanted to bring it here.”

Other departments were invited to participate and Chief Goulden reached out to other area police departments to stage their own events. “They’ve been challenged,” he said.

There’s still time to pitch in. Everyone who participated contributed $25, Chief Goulden said. Anyone else who wishes to send in or drop off a donation — for any amount — may do so until Aug. 26 th, he added.

Checks should be made out to the Shirley Police Association, which will cut a check for the full amount collected and send it to ALS. Donors are asked to note “ALS” on the memo line.

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