Cops raise donations for Special Olympics
By Mike Nolan firstname.lastname@example.org May 30, 2014 7:36PM
Special Olympics Illinois Board Chairman Jim Corrigan (left) thanks Dunkinâ Donuts manager Karim Nasser for hosting Fridayâs Cop on a Rooftop promotion to raise funds and awareness for Special Olympics Illinois. Corrigan, a longtime resident of Chicago's Beverly community, made the store at 10401 S. Western Ave. in Chicago his first stop in rounds to thank owners and managers. | Supplied photo
Updated: July 2, 2014 6:28AM
During the 19 years he’s been with the Tinley Park Police Department, Sgt. Bill Devine has played a key role in its participation in the annual Law Enforcement Torch Run fundraiser for Special Olympics Illinois.
That connection to Special Olympics became much more personal eight years ago, when his son, C.J., was born with Down syndrome. His son has participated in the games the last six years.
“Working with the Torch Run prior to his birth helped me prepare, make it easier,” Devine said. “The games show us we’re all the same, and everybody deserves a chance.”
He and several members of the Tinley Park force were either on top of, or swarming around, a Dunkin’ Donuts in the village Friday. They were taking part in the doughnut chain’s “Cop on a Rooftop” fundraiser, which is designed to raise awareness of the Torch Run and generate donations.
The run last year raised $3.3 million for Special Olympics Illinois, and leads up to the games, which will be held June 13 through 15 in Bloomington. Tinley Park was the fifth-highest fundraising department in the state last year.
The “Cop on a Rooftop” event, in its 12th year, raised $310,000 last year and hopes were to reach $325,000 this year, according to Matt Johnson, senior director of development and Torch Run liaison for Special Olympics Illinois. Dunkin’ Donuts is also contributing $15,000 toward the run.
“The community really backs it,” Johnson said.
There were 174 Dunkin’ Donuts shops taking part this year, up from 150 last year, he said.
Joining officers on the roof of the Dunkin’ Donuts at 171st Street and 80th Avenue was Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, who regularly attends the opening ceremony of the Games.
“It’s (the games) a great opportunity to make sure all kids have an opportunity to be engaged,” she said.
It wasn’t the first time that Madigan’s had joined police on a rooftop for the event, and she applauded the agencies that take part in the event and the Torch Run.
“Law enforcement in Illinois is really committed to Special Olympics and always has been,” Madigan said.
Carie Ganser, of Tinley Park, said she has been a participant in various Special Olympics events for nearly 20 years and she’s training for the bench press this year.
“It feels great being able to make my family proud, and it makes me feel good about myself,” she said.
For her, competing in the games isn’t about winning or losing, Ganser said.
“There are so many people telling me there are things I can’t do” because of her disability, she said. “It (the games) has helped me show them there are so many things I can do.”