Illinois cops waved from the rooftops of 116 Chicago area Dunkin' Donuts Shops Friday to benefit Special Olympics Illinois.
The ninth annual “Cop on a Rooftop” event raised money and awareness for the upcoming 26th annual Law Enforcement Torch Run, benefitting Special Olympics Illinois.
DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin staked out the Wheaton Dunkin’ Donuts, which had cars lined up out to Roosevelt Road Friday, while Berlin waved to drivers during the Friday morning coffee rush.
Dunkin’ Donuts committed to a $10,000 donation to the Torch Run fund, and patrons who made donations to Cop on a Rooftop store received free donuts and Torch Run memorabilia based on their contribution.
The Special Olympics athletes need opportunities, Berlin said from the rooftop. "It's a great cause ... it's great to see them (athletes) participate."
"When you see all of these kids, it's inspirational to see them competing," he said.
Mary Pocious, who coordinated the Cop on a Rooftop events in DuPage County, got involved with efforts benefitting Special Olympics Illinois because of a close friend who could have been a "perfect" Special Olympics athlete, had they existed when she was young.
She said that when she was young, there were "potential athletes" who were in group homes, including one in particular who lived on her block. "Nobody would talk to him, nobody would do anything with him," Pocious said. "He used to come sit on my porch and we had many, many long conversations and he would have been a perfect Special Olympics athlete ... that's basically why I got started ... and now I'm just hooked."
Pocious, who worked at the Wood Dale and Glen Ellyn Police Departments and now trains police officers in Aurora, will carry the torch representing Illinois law enforcement at the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens, Greece next month.
"When we raise money for Special Olympics we change a life, we make a difference. We haven't reached all the Special Olympics athletes yet and we have not reached all of the people that need to know about the Special Olympics," Pocious said.
She added, "This is what we do, this is who we are, and we're thrilled."