Police in Merrimack, Hudson go scruffy to help the Special Olympics

Police officers in a couple of local towns may look a little hairier than usual in the next few weeks, but it’s for a good cause.

About 40 officers in Merrimack and Hudson are growing beards as part of a fundraiser dubbed “Donate to Insulate” for the Special Olympics of New Hampshire.

Each of the officers donated $100 to be able to grow a beard or goatee for the month leading up to the WinniDip on March 8, another fundraiser for the Special Olympics.

“I just think it’s a great cause and I think people want to jump on board for something like that,” Hudson patrolman Alan Marcotte said. “Ultimately all the money we’re raising goes to them.”

Merrimack police Sgt. Brian Levesque first approached Merrimack Chief Mark Doyle with the idea that scruffy-faced cops could generate some dough for the Special Olympics. Doyle said he was hesitant at first but decided that, given the cause, why not? The idea later spread to Hudson.

“It seems to raise the money and it raises a lot of interest in the Special Olympics,” Doyle said. “This is something we’re hopeful continues to generate more of that energy and brings some of the newer officers on board as well.”

Nashua police are also raising money for the Special Olympics, although they won’t be growing any fu manchus or muttonchops. Chief John Seusing said about a dozen employees, including himself, have formed the department’s largest WinniDip team yet. They will be plunging into the frigid waters of Lake Winnipesaukee in Laconia on March 8.

“It’s a great cause. The little discomfort is well worth it,” he said.

Merrimack and Hudson police are also sending teams to the dip. Ten officers from Hudson and 15 from Merrimack are
soliciting donations for the plunge.

Marcotte said police agencies throughout the state have a unique relationship with the Special Olympics, partly because of the impact it has on the athletes themselves.

Dozens of officers run with Special Olympics athletes each year, carrying the Summer Games torch in warmer weather and also hand out medals at the games themselves.

“It’s just very special for us to be a part of it,” Marcotte said. “I think these are just some very special people. They don’t care about winning and losing. They just care about competing and having a good time and showing camaraderie.”

Donations for individual “dippers” can be made online at

Joseph G. Cote can be reached at 594-6415 or jcote@nashuatelegraph.com. Also, follow Cote on Twitter