The Sedalia Police Department in conjunction with Applebee’s Neighborhood Bar and Grill raised more than $1,200 for Special Olympics on Thursday at “Tip a Cop,” an event where officers assist wait staff to help local athletes.
“It was $1,281 by our latest count yesterday,” said SPD Commander Larry Ward. “To raise that much in two and one-half hours is significant. People were extremely generous. It was just a great resource and well attended by the community.
The monies raised will be used to aide local athletes in their participation in sporting events. During the event, each Applebee’s server had an “assistant” who is a member of the Sedalia Police Department. Envelopes on the table allowed customers the option of tipping the officer, with all the proceeds going to Special Olympics.
“It funds the programs that are held here locally — basketball, bowling and some other programs, but it stays here in the central Missouri region,” Ward said. “The athletes have zero out of pocket costs. They don’t have any entry fees. If we go stay in the dorms or eat in the dining facilities, there is no cost to the athletes or their families.”
Ward coaches a local basketball team of athletes and said the players’ character is one of the reasons that around the world, law enforcement continues to support Special Olympics.
“When you personally observe how they respond to each other, to adversity, the sportsmanship. It could be in the middle of a tournament, for the gold medal, but if a kid falls down they will stop and pick that kid up and pat each other on the back,” Ward said.
In addition to donating to a great cause, police also have Torch Run T-shirts and “Drive it Home” tickets where one person will have a chance to win a 2014 Chevrolet Camaro. Peace officers also regularly participate in the Torch Run, which raised more than $42.6 million in 2012 and the Polar Plunge, which challenges teams to jump in a freezing body of water to raise funds for the athletes.
For more information on Special Olympics and upcoming events, visit the website at specialolympics.org.