Rosemont Tops "Cop On A Rooftop" Fundraiser Goal
By: Diane Turner-Hurns
Journal & Topics Reporter
Hundreds of people were drawn into the Dunkin' Donuts on Higgins Road Friday, May 20, by the Rosemont Public Safety officers waving from the rooftop and greeting customers while urging them to support Special Olympics.
Rosemont officials said they exceeded their goal and raised $2,905 for the cause Friday, besting the $2,000 they made last year.
As people stopped by to greet the officers, they bought special Olympic T-shirts, pins and more with all donations going to the Special Olympics, which got its start in Chicago July 20, 1968.
A Rosemont fire engine also drew onlookers.
“We’ve seen a large, steady group of people come by to support the cause since we first got here at 5 a.m.” Rosemont Public Safety Department Chief Donald Stephens told the Journal Friday. “It’s a great cause. This is the second year we have done this and based on the crowds we have seen come here today, I believe we’ll exceed what we made last year. It all goes to Special Olympics, a cause we continue to support.”
Most of the Rosemont officers participating in the Dunkin’ Donuts event volunteered their time to do so in support of Special Olympics.
The 14th annual "Cop on Rooftop" event was held statewide from 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday. This was the second year Rosemont participated in the event.
According to event organizers, once cops raised the same amount they did the year before or more, they could get down from the roof. Rosemont Public Safety officers planned to stay on the roof until the 2 p.m. statewide event conclusion.
Joining Chief Stephens up top were officers Joe Balogh, Kyle Grygel, Masam Rooshanfekr, and Lyle Richmond. Several other public safety officers manned the always-busy donation table in front of Dunkin’ Donuts providing information on Special Olympics to those who stopped by to say "hi" or to donate.
Special Olympics began, officials say, when Eunice Kennedy Shriver worked to help those with intellectual disabilities live a more normal life through sports in the early 1960s. At the same time, therapeutic recreation work was being done by Dr. William Freeberg at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale.
He later worked for the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation headed by Shriver and trained park district personnel from across the country in this area.
From there, Chicago physical education teacher Anne McGlone Burke organized an event modeled after the Olympic Games supported by the city of Chicago, the Chicago Park District and Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation.
On July 20, 1968, the first Special Olympics competition was held at Soldier Field with more than 1,000 athletes from the U.S. and Canada. On that day Shriver announced the formation of a national Special Olympics.
Today more than 21,300 athletes with intellectual disabilities and nearly 13,000 young athletes ages 2 through 7 with and without intellectual disabilities compete annually throughout Illinois.
Special Olympics competitions will be held June 10- 12 all day at various locations in Bloomington and Normal, IL.
Donations from "Cop on Rooftop" support these games and training programs for those with intellectual disabilities.