MOOSJAWTODAY.COM — Teddy Bears Anonymous (TBA) concluded its "Jump for Charity" fundraiser on Sept. 9, when the three members of Pool B made their jump following the members of Pool A who jumped one week earlier.
Pool B consisted of three officers from the Regina Police Service (RPS): Laurel Marshall, inspector; Greg Hovdestead, staff sergeant; and Pierre Beauchesne, staff sergeant. The officers made the jump in full police uniform. “Wear it proudly,” Marshall said.
The jump took place at the Moose Jaw Municipal Airport, and was hosted by Skydive South Sask, which is based out of the airfield.
“Skydive South Sask was started 31 years ago … basically when the (Moose Jaw Municipal) airport was being built,” said Craig Macdonald, one of the tandem instructors who went up with the officers.
“It’s a normal, everyday jump but it’s really nice to be able to do it for a cause,” Macdonald said.
“I always like to say that we make people’s day — that’s our business. Next to nobody leaves here without smiling,” Macdonald said about the club. “It feels good for us to be able to make people’s day, and it’s what we’re all about.”
The three RPS officers signed up after they were invited by the CEO of Teddy Bears Anonymous.
“Luke Lawrence, the president and CEO of Teddy Bear’s Anonymous, reached out to the Regina Police Service asking if we wanted to get involved in this crazy idea to jump out of a plane to raise money for (the charity),” Marshall explained.
“We’ve been partners of Teddy Bears Anonymous for years as we give out the teddy bears. Our front line will have them in their vehicles and will give them out to kids in crisis when we attend calls for service,” said Marshall.
The RPS has a long history of working with TBA, and the three officers reflected on their many first-hand experiences working with children in the Regina area.
“I’ve got two kids and I’ve been fortunate enough where they have not needed the teddy bears or to be in the hospital for an extended period of time,” said Hovdestead. “I know a lot of our RPS family members have children who have been in hospital and made use of the teddy bears, and it’s been a really great organization.
“The kids I know, when they have the teddy bears, they come out of (their situation) and hold those teddy bears for several years after, so it’s been quite an important part of their stay,” he added.
“I think we’ve all seen instances where kids are going through terrible trauma or experiences and something as small as a teddy bear can really make a big difference when they’re going through that. It’s something they can carry with them, and it’s some positive light in the middle of a bad situation. I’ve seen it,” Beauchesne said.
The officers expressed their thanks for the opportunity to give back. “We’re very grateful and very thankful to the people who supported us,” said Marshall.
“Thanks to all the friends and family that are sponsoring us, and (our) co-workers,” Beauchesne said, noting that their co-workers at the RPS also donated to the cause.
Om Majithia was the pilot who flew the Cessna 182 used to make the jump.
“Being a pilot was always my dream since I was a kid,” Majithia said. “Since I always wanted to do aviation, once I qualified for permanent residency, I started working toward my pilot’s license… Here I am getting the hours to get to my dream job.”
After a final briefing and gear check on the ground, skydivers were flown to the jumping altitude.
“We taxi out onto the runway, and after doing some checks, we take off and climb up to 9,500 feet,” Majithia explained. “As soon as we reach altitude, I do a jump run, they step out of the plane, and they jump.”
“For them, it’s going to be about five or seven minutes on their journey to the ground. They open the parachute at a few thousand feet above the ground,” Majithia said. After notifying other aircraft in the area of the intent to jump, the skydivers make the jump within two miles of the airport.
Weather conditions couldn’t have been better, and the jump went off as planned. “(The) first thing I asked was when do I go again?” Marshall said with a smile.
“It was great… I want to thank Teddy Bears Anonymous for the opportunity,” Hovdestead said after his jump.
The final amount raised was $13,104, which translates into 2,620 teddy bears.
Skydive South Sask is a volunteer-run organization that meets up on weekends, and they’re more than happy to host fundraiser events. You can book a jump with them by visiting SkyDiveSouthSask.ca.
The deadline has passed to donate to the Jump for Charity event, but this doesn’t mean you should stop making donations to TBA. Donations are always appreciated, and their efforts help support the Jim Pattison Children's Hospital in Saskatoon.
For more information or to make a donation, visit TeddyBearsAnonymous.ca.
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