North Adams Police complete ALS Ice Bucket Challenge issued by fire, ambulance squads


Photo Gallery | ALS Ice Bucket Challenge met by North Adams Police Department

NORTH ADAMS -- Although rain was forecast for Tuesday, five members of the North Adams Police Department got off their day shift and they were completely dry.

It didn't last long.

They were challenged by the North Adams Ambulance Service and the North Adams Fire Department to the dump buckets of ice water over their heads.

It wasn't the result of a traffic stop gone bad or some sort of interdepartmental enmity.

It is part of the Ice Bucket Challenge, a digital ice cold tsunami sweeping around the nation as thousands of YouTube videos are being posted of people dumping ice water over themselves to raise awareness and money for the ALS Association, which is dedicated to finding a cure for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

There is only one drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat ALS, which only extends survival by two to three months. So ALS is 100 percent fatal. In addition to acclimating to the challenges that come with losing control of voluntary muscle movement, people with the disease progressively lose their ability to eat, speak, walk, and eventually breathe.

The idea is that every person who dumps ice water over their head challenges another person or group to do the same, and the challenged has to either do the bucket thing or donate money to the ALS Association.

Most do both.

Between when the ice bucket challenge started July 29 and Aug. 12, the ALS Association and its 38 chapters have received $4 million in donations compared to $1.12 million during the same time period last year. Since July 29, The ALS Association has seen more than 70,000 new donors to the cause.

Also on Tuesday, Pittsfield Mayor Daniel Bianchi and state Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier also took the challenge at Pittsfield City Hall, with each dumping the ice water on the other.

So when the challenge to the police came through, members of the North Adams Police Union Local 382 responded.

"We cannot let that go by," said K9 Officer Albert Zoito shortly before he became cold and wet.. "So it's come to us having to do this."

"Somebody said we should do this, and we all jumped right in," added Sgt. James Burdick.

"And we're going to donate $250 to the ALS fund," Zoito said. "We believe in the cure."

Five officers -- Zoito, Lt. Dave Sacco, Officer Tony Randall, Dispatcher Dave Burdick, and Sgt. Burdick each got their own ice buckets when they got off their shift at 4 p.m. Three others did it when they got off work at midnight.

Before the water flew, some family members gathered at the police station to serve as witness, and to see their dads and husbands get soaking wet.

Rebecca Randall wanted to see her husband get all wet. She brought their three children to see it too.

"He doesn't usually do stuff like this, so we wanted to see it," she said.

Jamie LeBeau wanted to see her dad, Sgt. Burdick, take the challenge.

"It's hilarious," she said. "But he's crazy, he'll do anything."

After they dumped ice water on themselves -- in full uniform -- they shook it off for a minute and then got pretty chatty.

"That was brisk, but I feel good," Sgt. Burdick said. "I just came off a shift and I was feeling a little groggy. That wakes you right up. And we're helping out a good cause."

To reach Scott Stafford:,

or (413) 663-3741, ext. 227.

On Twitter: @BESStafford.

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