YORKVILLE – Cops kept up with their appearances with doughnuts for a cause Friday, May 17.
Yorkville police took to the rooftops for their annual Cop on a Rooftop fundraiser event benefiting Special Olympics Illinois on Friday at Dunkin' Donuts, 1604 N. Bridge St. in Yorkville. The Yorkville event was one of two happening in town and both were part of a state-wide initiative to raise funds for the nonprofit organization.
Yorkville Police Det. Sgt. Pat McMahon said it's important to have fundraising events like this for the organization because it helps those with special needs to get involved.
"And doing this gives people a chance to also contribute and make it possible for the kids to compete by raising the money," McMahon said.
Melanie Heneghan, 22, of Montgomery came by the event to say hello to law enforcement while wearing her medals and ribbons won as a track athlete for Special Olympics Illinois. Some of the events she said she was involved in were the 400-meter and 100-meter relays.
John Heneghan, Melanie's dad, said Melanie first became involved with Special Olympics when she was about 10 years old. He said he remembers one dinner event just for kids where she hid under a table because she didn't want to be around people.
Now, Heneghan said, Melanie goes up to people and hugs them at those events.
Heneghan, who also coaches Melanie for Special Olympics events, said her transformation from the little girl who didn't want to be around people to becoming someone who isn't afraid to socialize is remarkable. Not only do these donations help with the cost for families to remain involved in Special Olympics, he said, the organization also gives people like Melanie the opportunity to be themselves.
"As we continue as a society, our most vulnerable are the ones that are benefiting from our ability to give and to help," Heneghan said.
As of 1:25 p.m. Friday, McMahon said Yorkville cops received $2,942.25 for Special Olympics Illinois this year. He said the fundraising totals for last year's event was $2,649.
"You always want to raise more and it goes to a great cause," McMahon said.
Plano Police Lt. Norm Allison said his department also raised $2,526 for Special Olympics Illinois this year. He said he couldn't immediately recall the exact number raised for the cause last year.
"It's right around the same ballpark," Allison said.
Oswego Police Chief Jeff Burgner said in an email the police department raised a total of $2,074 for this year's Cop on a Rooftop event. Last year, the department raised $2,353 and $2,417 in total the year before.
Sandwich police officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment regarding fundraising totals to Record Newspapers.
Kendall County Sheriff's Office Det. Sgt. Caleb Waltmire said in an email Monday the sheriff's office collected $4,164 from the two Dunkin' Donuts locations – 3300 Orchard Road in Oswego and 1060 Ogden Ave. in Montgomery – the office participated at this year.
"Which is the largest amount we have ever collected," Waltmire said in the email.
Waltmire said the sheriff's office raised $1,914 from last year's Cop on a Rooftop event.
Montgomery Police Sgt. Liz Palko said in an email Friday the department fundraised only at the 1602 Douglas Road location this year, as opposed to that location and the 1060 Ogden Ave. location last year. This year, Montgomery police raised $3,677, which was $666 less than the $4,364 the department raised at the two locations combined last year.
"This was a phenomenal turnout," Palko said in the email.
Not only does law enforcement protect and serve their communities, McMahon said, but police officers are members of the community as well. He said officers' duties go beyond getting the bad guys and that community outreach is also important for police departments.
McMahon said that he also cherishes the time he gets to leave his desk for a little while to directly interact with the people he helps serve in a fun way, since he doesn't do a lot of that anymore as a detective sergeant.
"This is about working with the community and this is one of the ways that we do that," McMahon said.