By Remington Whitcomb
LAKEWOOD - Law enforcement from across the state paired up with Applebee's Grill and Bar to serve in a different manner, all for a deserving cause.
Photo by Remington Whitcomb
From the left, beginning in back: Corry Moore, Jamestown Police Department; Bradley Anderson, Applebee’s Grill and Bar manager; Kyle Keller, Special Olympics athlete; Kevin Anderson, Special Olympics volunteer coach; Koty Leeper, Special Olympics athlete; and Mike Mason, Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office. In the front, from the left: Jen Felice, Special Olympics Athlete; and Janel McIntyre, Special Olympics Athlete.
For one officer, personal injury was even pushed aside so that he could follow through with his commitment to participate in Thursday's Law and Orders fundraiser for Special Olympics of New York.
"Anytime we can help, we want to help," Corry Moore, of the Jamestown Police Department, said, donning a cast on his left arm.
Moore had injured himself in an automobile accident just a few hours before the event, but despite breaking his arm, he arrived at Applebee's right on schedule.
Joining Moore was Mike Marsh from the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department.
"The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office is very supportive of events such as this," Marsh, who has participated in the event the past four years, said. "I have a son with disabilities, and whenever an opportunity to support the Special Olympics is available, I make it a priority to do so."
The annual Law and Orders fundraiser took place at Applebee's Grill and Bar locations across the state, including the location in Lakewood. The event, which lasted from 5-8 p.m., saw local law officials set down their usual accoutrements and pick up menus and serving trays instead. All tips, donations and other contributions given by guests which were waited on by the officers went toward the Special Olympics New York and the Law Enforcement Torch Run.
"This is a fundraising effort, statewide, with the New York State Troopers and local law enforcement for each county," said Kevin Anderson, volunteer coach for the Special Olympics. "It is in conjunction with Applebee's Grill and Bars throughout the state, as well as the Special Olympics. All of the money goes back to support Special Olympics New York, which supports all regional and state games."
Historically, the New York State Troopers have been very involved in fundraising for the Special Olympics and the state games, however they also host an event called the Torch Run.
According to Anderson, Special Olympics New York simply couldn't be without fundraising efforts such as Law and Orders.
"There are two different aspects of Special Olympics," Anderson said. "The aspect that most people know about is the track and field events that take place in the spring through the school systems. However, athletes in the Special Olympics (in Chautauqua County) range from ages 10-79. We serve a number of individuals with special needs, and we also offer golf, softball, basketball, bocce ball, floor hockey and cross-country skiing. It's open to anyone who has a developmental disability, and we try to run the season in conjunction with typical sport seasons. ... We run these regional events, but the Special Olympics also runs three state games a year, which gives the athletes the opportunity to compete on a state level. When athletes can return to a state competition multiple times, it gives them the opportunity to make friends with athletes from other parts of the state, which really is a wonderful thing."
In 2012, Law and Orders night raised nearly $9,000 locally for the athletes of Special Olympics New York, and the LETR program raised more than $1.5 million statewide. Within the Law Enforcement Torch Run more than $43 million was raised initiative-wide.