Maple Park Police first in Special Olympics fundraising
by Mary Parrilli
MAPLE PARK—The Maple Park Police Department in early February was awarded with the Flame of Hope Trophy at its annual Special Olympics Kickoff event. The Police Department received the trophy because it raised more money for the Special Olympics than any other agency for in Illinois last year, with a grand total of $63,000. And since 2011, the Police Department has raised over $120,000 for the Special Olympics.
The kickoff event was held in Bloomington, Ill. on Feb. 7. Maple Park Police Chief Mike Acosta and other community members attended the opening to represent Maple Park and personally accept the Flame of Hope Trophy.
“(The money was raised by) visiting community events and selling Special Olympics merchandise and raffle tickets,” Acosta said. “Some of those community events included Elburn Days, Fun Fest, community breakfasts and various other type of craft and gun shows.”
Maple Park’s interest in the Special Olympics stems from community member Colleen MacRunnels, who worked for the state of Illinois Department of Corrections in St. Charles. MacRunnels began to raise money for the Special Olympics in 2007.
“After retiring, (Colleen) wanted to continue to promote Special Olympics,” Acosta said. “She and I and the village president, Kathleen Curtis, met in 2011, and the Maple Park Police began its partnership with Special Olympics of Illinois.”
The trophy is currently on display at the Maple Park Village Offices, but in the coming weeks will begin to travel around for display in local businesses. The Police Department wants the trophy to be showcased throughout the town to show its gratitude to community members for their donations. So keep an eye out for the Flame of Hope Trophy as it makes its way around town.
“Once you get involved and see the difference (you can) make in someone’s life, you are hooked,” Acosta said.