Cop on Top to raise money for Special Olympics Minnesota
WORTHINGTON -- If you happen to be driving past Hy-Vee toward the end of the month and see a person standing on top of the building, don't panic. It's just a cop.
The Worthington Police Department, led by Officer Jacki Dawson, is participating in a Special Olympics Minnesota Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) event fundraiser called Cop on Top, which features an officer sitting on top of a building for 24 hours. The event begins at 6 p.m. May 26 and lasts until 6 p.m. May 27.
"Our goal is to raise $2,500," said Dawson. "We sent letters to local businesses and are inviting everyone to the event."
The Worthington Fire Department will bring their 102-foot ladder truck to the site so officers can take 4-hour shifts up on the roof. Tentatively scheduled to participate are Worthington Public Safety Director Mike Cumiskey, Captain Chris Dybevick, Sgt. Tim Gaul, Det. Sgt. Kevin Flynn, Officer Ted Buhner and Dawson.
Down on the ground, all sorts of activities will be going on.
"McGruff the Crime Dog will be there, World Champion Arm Wrestler Rich Lupkes will be arm wrestling for donations, we'll have a K-9 officer out there," Dawson said. "We'll be selling this year's Special Olympics Minnesota t-shirts and hats."
Police departments across the country are involved in Special Olympics fundraising, and the Cop on Top fundraiser has been around for a while, Dawson explained.
"I thought this would be a fun one," she stated. "I thought we'd get good community involvement."
Dawson has been the department's Special Olympics/LETR coordinator since 2007, and had participated in several Polar Plunges since then, working with a team of volunteers that grows each year.
Dawson is hoping they will meet their $2,500 goal with Cop on Top, but said any amount they can raise to help Special Olympics is great.
"Special Olympics is about athletics, but it has also expanded to include programs for Global Messengers who speak at public events about people with handicaps, their own hardships and successes," Dawson explained. "These people are working hard to do something. Some people take for granted that they have certain abilities, never realizing how lucky they are."
Dawson is excited about the event and hoping the sight of a cop sitting on top of Hy-Vee's building will pique people's curiosity and get them to stop by.
Keeping co-workers involved in Special Olympics fundraising makes the various events even more fun.
Buhner said he had received an email from Dawson when she was looking for people to volunteer.
"People are good about volunteering," he stated. "And a lot of people in this community support the police department. We hope a lot of people will come out and show support for Special Olympics, even if it's just to say hi and pet the dog."
It isn't just officers that stepped up to volunteer for the event, Dawson said.
"We have people from the dispatch center and the office -- staff who people talk to, but don't see very often," she added. "They're an important part of the police department."
In a recent Torch Run newsletter from Minnesota Special Olympics, Dawson, the featured Torch Run officer, said the Special Olympics participants are the most important part of the organization.
"I got involved with Special Olympics for many reasons, and one of them was to do something selfless for the benefit of others," she states in the newsletter. "Unfortunately, I didn't reach my goal, because everything I do with Special Olympics Minnesota makes me feel so good and proud that it's no longer selfless."