Red Card Roberts |

Red Card Roberts

Amy Roberts, Record Columnist

If you had your choice, would you rather be robbed at gunpoint or have your house burn down?

If your answer is an explicit "neither," you might want to pony up and help out the two men responsible for preventing that kind of stuff.

And here’s your chance.

Park City Police Chief Wade Carpenter and Park City Fire District Chief Paul Hewitt will be freezin’ for a reason this Saturday at the Polar Plunge. The event raises money for the Utah Special Olympics by having participants fund-raise for the "privilege" of jumping into the ice-cold pool at the new Park City MARC (or, as the locals call it, "the old Racquet Club").

The chief who raises the most money not only gets bragging rights for the year, he also gets to dress the losing chief for the event. I’m told terms like "banana hammock" and "man-kini" and yes, even "grape smuggler" have been floating around both departments. One reason the fire guy is getting a little anxious.

"I have a white butt with freckles all over it. If I don’t win, it won’t be pretty," Paul notes. "Plus the water is going to be really, really cold, if you know what I mean."

I’m pretty sure anyone who has ever seen Seinfeld knows what he means. Thanks to George, "shrinkage" is now a verb and the phrase "like a frightened turtle" lives on in infamy.

Over in the cops’ corner, the mood is just as antsy. "I think that everyone who knows me realizes that I’m vertically challenged," says Wade. "I have the legs of a wrestler that seldom, if ever, see sunlight. Unlike our fire chief who is often seen waterskiing or running on the trails with his long, toned legs, my pale and bruised limbs would only serve as a punishment to our beloved community. The thought of making me wear a Speedo is not only cruel and unusual punishment, I’m quite certain it will bring down Park City property values. For this reason I ask you to donate to my page. My life has been hard enough."

As they plead for cash, both sides are talking a little smack, all in good fun, of course. Chief Hewitt’s preferred opener for a possible donation is: "What do cops and firefighters have in common? They both wanted to be firefighters."

Not to be outdone, Chief Carpenter can talk a little trash too. He asks, "Why did God create cops? So firefighters could have a hero."

Whether you favor the guns or the hoses, one thing both men can agree on is this: No matter which chief wins, everyone wins when they donate. That’s because all the money goes to the Utah Special Olympics, an organization that provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. A cause Wade has been committed to for years.

"I have served on the Special Olympics executive board for the past three years and have participated with the Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run for over 20 years," Wade says. "The Polar Plunge is another exceptional Special Olympics fundraising opportunity. I truly appreciate your willingness to support Chief Hewitt and me in this worthwhile cause."

As for my chief choice, I’m pulling a Switzerland and not taking a side. I’m evenly splitting my donation in this year’s Chief’s Challenge hoping this might serve the dual purpose of both getting out of my next speeding ticket and a quick response from the fire department the next time I decide to cook.

To learn more about the Polar Plunge, visit the Utah Special Olympics website:

And, to donate to either chief, you can visit their personal fundraising pages:

Chief Carpenter’s page: . Chief Hewitt’s page:

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Amy Roberts is a freelance writer, public-relations guru and globe-trotting thrill seeker. In a former life she worked in TV news, both as a reporter and sports anchor. She has bagged peaks on six continents, kayaked the Zambezi and Nile rivers, swam with great white sharks in South Africa and tracked mountain gorillas in Rwanda. She was once very nearly sold for 2,000 camels while traveling through Morocco.