Skip to Content

If you’re tired of Charlie and Lindsay and need a breather, we’ve got something to share that is neither Hollywood based nor snarky. This post simply showcases an extraordinary individual who goes above and beyond the call of duty in the Twin Cities, by giving the gift of his time for a worthy cause.

Chief Meteorologist Ian Leonard, at Fox 9 News, has a full plate indeed. He balances the roles of husband, father of two beautiful daughters, as well as a full time job as a meteorologist in snowy Minnesota. Leonard is also a year-round partner with Special Olympics Minnesota. He admits it keeps him busy but assures the naysayers that it is “so worth it.”

In the last two months, Ian has been in eight different Polar Bear Plunges around the metro area to help raise funds for Special Olympic Minnesota. Dressed in decidedly wacky costumes, the local celebrity knows how to get people involved.

Special Olympics is a volunteer driven organization and anyone can help. Ian’s billboard-worthy philosophy: “I call it ‘success without thinking’…don’t just think, DO. My wife and I help because we should, not because we can.”

Four years ago Leonard’s efforts helped raised $600,000. The following year Fox 9 became the State wide broadcast partner for Special Olympics Minnesota. Last year they raised $1.5 million and it looks like this year they could hit $2 million. Their phenomenal efforts to raise awareness are working.

This year nearly 10,000 people have signed up to jump into the frigid waters of Minnesota for the cause. Why would anyone in their right mind do that? Leonard said it is quite simple: “It celebrates life, and a life worth living…and that is magnificent!”

Ian has asked me to join him, the dad’s of Eden Prairie and Congressman Erik Paulsen this Saturday. This writer will be taking the plunge with them. Leonard encourages people to volunteer at just one event because that is all it takes to get hooked: “Your feet will not touch the ground the week after…it is about celebrating life.” I’m sold!

So with just three days to raise money for my jump, I’m giving a shout out to all of my friends to dig deep for a great cause. View my Polar Bear Plunge page here.

After the Plunge events wind down for the season, Ian will be involved in the Fraser Walk for Autism April 2, 2011. Then it is on to the Special Olympic Summer Games June 23-25, 2011.

Follow Ian on his Fox 9 Facebook page or on Twitter.

Ian’s team raised $40,000 last weekend at Lake Calhoun. Check out the photos and video below: