MPPD eyes top spot in Special Olympics fundraising competition

By on August 16, 2013

MAPLE PARK—Maple Park Police Chief Mike Acosta wants to bring home a huge honor to the village: the Flame of Hope trophy.

If the Maple Park Police Department raises the most money for Special Olympics Illinois this year, Acosta plans on showing off the tall award—an item he guesses is between four and five feet in height.

“It would be displayed. Proudly displayed,” Acosta said. “It would have to go around the village like the (Stanley) Cup.”

He said he pictures the trophy traveling from Casey’s General Store to the Maple Park Fire Department to Village Hall.

Acosta’s dream of parading the Flame of Hope trophy around Maple Park is a realistic one, as the Police Department has had a lot of success raising money for fundraisers to benefit Special Olympics Illinois. As of July 28, a Facebook post announced $47,724.50 had been raised by the department.

Totals have changed since the post.

According to Colleen MacRunnels, co-coordinator of MPPD Law Enforcement Torch Run, $900 had been added as of last Friday. This brought the total to $48,624.50.

Acosta said the MPPD is already tops in terms of money raised this year, and that the department is competing with 325 other Illinois police departments to raise money for Special Olympics.

“We’re hoping to raise at least $50,000 or more and to be number one in the state, to bring that kind of recognition to the village of Maple Park,” Acosta said.

The Police Department’s fundraiser events have included “Pulling for Special Olympics,” “Cop on Top” and “Wheel of Meat Extravaganza.”

Acosta points to the success coming from donations and the biggest fundraiser moneymaker being the “Pulling for Special Olympics” shoot. Acosta said that event brought the department $39,000 and has doubled in attendance every year since it started.

“I see males, females, children,” Acosta said. “They’re all shooting, and safely shooting clay pigeons and stuff.”

Some raffles at the fundraiser included gun giveaways.

MPPD Police Officer Tom Holland said that it would be a great feeling if the MPPD was number one.

“But at the same time, we’re all shooting for the same goal,” Holland said. “So, it really doesn’t matter how much everyone contributes. It’s just that we all are pitching in.”

Dusty Dickens, 28, of Sugar Grove, is a Special Olympics athlete. He has earned 145 medals—80 of them gold, and has participated in district and state competitions. His sports include powerlifting, golf, basketball, softball and volleyball.

Dickens calls the fundraising efforts of the MPPD “awesome.” And he also can point out exactly what Special Olympics means to him.

“It means to be with a team, to do my best,” Dickens said, “And I think that’s it.”