Good aim puts officials in cold water

It was cold water for some warm-hearted city officials, Homer Police Department personnel and Alaska State Troopers on Saturday at “Dunk the Fuzz,” a fundraiser benefiting the Homer Special Olympics.

“It needed to be warm,” said a laughing Homer Police Chief Mark Robl, who found himself repeatedly splashing into the dunk tank in the Homer High School parking lot.

Beginning at noon and continuing through the afternoon, members of the public could toss a softball for $10, $50 or $100 — the higher the price, the fewer the throws, the closer the target — to send a line-up of volunteers into the chilly water. 

Andrea Petersen, city of Homer’s human resources director, led the action, discovering in short order that the water had not been pre-heated.

“Is this going to show up on my next evaluation?” Mike Illg, coordinator of the city’s Community Recreation Program, asked Petersen before taking careful aim at the target.

City Manager Walt Wrede was next onto the precarious perch, and sent into the water by the expert aim of Justin Trail, 9, of Nikolaevsk. Keeping his aim steady, Justin went on to dunk Robl, the next in line, as well as others.

Also part of the fundraising event were rides in an Alaska Cab go-cart, with passengers wearing fatal vision goggles simulating the impaired vision of drunk drivers.

The two events raised $1,500.

“We would have to commend Officer (Ryan) Browning. He took this project over and did a great job with it,” said Robl.

The effort to support Special Olympics continues Saturday with the Homer Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run. It is the second year Browning has coordinated the run, which is part of the Alaska Law Enforcement Torch Run and Pledge Drive held across the state. It’s the first year to include the dunk tank and go-cart in the Homer activity, and Browning credited his wife, Andrea, for coming up with idea.

Saturday’s Torch Run is a way for walkers, runners, joggers, strollers, bicycle riders and rollerbladers to “keep the flame burning” for Alaska’s Special Olympics athletes. Participants can run for free or receive a T-shirt for a minimum donation of $25. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m., with the run starting at 10 a.m.

Earlier this year, Special Olympic athlete Kinna Ledger of Anchor Point, represented the United States at the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. Ledger won a bronze medal in cross-country ski competition.

McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at