News: Military, local police officers raise money for Special Olympics Hawaii
Story by Kristen Wong
MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII - Marines from Marine Corps Base Hawaii’s Provost Marshal’s Office joined fellow local and military officers and Special Olympics Hawaii volunteers for the annual Cop on Top fundraiser Sept. 12 through 14, 2013.
This year, nearly 400 service members from various military installations in Hawaii spent their free time collecting donations statewide, earning more than $200,000 for the nonprofit organization.
Special Olympics Hawaii provides opportunities for special needs children and adults to compete in sports, and hosts various fundraisers throughout the year for the various expenses needed to support the athletes, events and staff.
“For any event like this where the outcome solely rests on the generosity of the public, we hold our breath awaiting the results,” said Nancy Bottelo, the chief executive officer of Special Olympics Hawaii. “The good people of Hawaii always come through — supporting the athletes and programs of Special Olympics Hawaii. It is through their kindness that we are able to provide all services free of charge to our athletes and families.”
From one homeless person bringing food to the volunteers to other community members matching donations, there were various stories to share from the week. Many volunteers played music from a loud speaker during the event.
Other volunteers performed music for patrons. Bottelo said in some locations, shopping center patrons joined in the event, dancing to the music. Volunteers on the ground also approached patrons for donations.
During Cop on Top, local and military law enforcement volunteers sit atop high scaffolding for hours, sometimes entertaining shopping center patrons, and encouraging passersby to contribute to the cause.
“It was good to see how many people supported the Special Olympics,” said Staff Sgt. Kevin Brock, watch commander, PMO.
Brock, who walked out to the stoplight near the shopping center to collect donations from cars, said many people were donating as much as $40 or $50 at a time.
The Athens, Tenn., native said he chose to volunteer simply to do his part in the community and help an organization that benefits people.
In past years, numerous MCB Hawaii personnel have lent a hand to Special Olympics Hawaii. Marines and sailors have collected donations during the organization’s annual fundraisers, like Fueling Dreams. Volunteers have set up equipment for sports events and supported athletes during the games.
In addition, the base has hosted the athletes for a portion of their annual Holiday Classic, which includes competition sports including bowling and basketball.
The base’s Exceptional Family Member Program, which has volunteered for previous Special Olympics Hawaii events, reached out to PMO for officers to volunteer for Cop on Top. The program staff regularly shares Special Olympics Hawaii opportunities with fellow departments on base.
“Special Olympics Hawaii provides an opportunity (for) youth and adults to have fun while developing physical fitness and building relationships with teammates and other families,” said Zandrea Glenn, a family caseworker at EFMP. “Being a volunteer means that you assisted in making that vision real for the athletes and their families.”
For more information about Special Olympics Hawaii, visit http://www.specialolympicshawaii.org.