Cops on Top achieves goal for Special Olympics athletes

Kaua‘i did it, again, said Shelly Gerardo, one of the volunteers for the Kaua‘i Special Olympics.

Facing a goal of $25,000 at the start of the Cops on Top program last week, Kaua‘i Special Olympics athletes, their supporters and volunteers raised a total of $17,787 over a three-day, two-night period as three Kaua‘i Police Department officers thanked the contributors and encouraged contributions from their vantage point atop the roof at the Safeway Store in Waipouli.

In addition to their goal, the Special Olympics program received news that the Board of Education cut funding for Special Olympics this year, creating an even bigger importance to the fundraising efforts of the Cops on Top event.

Gerardo said with the Falko Partners’ support, the goal of $25,000 will be met.

“This is absolutely amazing, considering the tough economic times everyone is facing,” Gerardo said. “The community dug deep into their pockets to help our athletes of Special Olympics Kaua‘i. We are truly thankful.”

Lt. Hank Barriga, Sgt. Mike Gordon and Sgt. Ezra Kanoho were lifted to the top of the Safeway Stores’ roof with the aid of a Time Warner Oceanic line truck, and following their tenure atop the roof, descended to much applause and congratulations, last Saturday afternoon, Gerardo said.

“The athletes are very proud of themselves for assisting the cops in raising the necessary funds that provide them with important physical activities and competition throughout the year,” Gerardo said. “We at Special Olympics Kaua‘i are quite proud of them, too. They are the reason we all are happy to put in our time and effort toward this wonderful cause.”

Gerardo said the event’s success is dependent on people spreading the word about the Special Olympics program.

Much of the support comes from the families who come out to each and every event hosted by the Special Olympics Kaua‘i. This support is enhanced by the volunteers who are happy to spend time with the Special Olympics Kaua‘i athletes, she said.

Many island businesses contributed as well.

Gerardo also extended Special Olympics Kaua‘i’s congratulations to Julie Rider, Brenda Verity and Brad Lum-Tucker, winners of iPod Shuffles donated by the Safeway Stores.

“As Special Olympics Kaua‘i’s most important event of the year, we can proudly say with much relief that Cops on Top was a huge success due to the help of many,” Gerardo said, quoting a saying by Ryunosuke Satoro — “Individually we are one drop, together, we are an Ocean.”

Special Olympics’ mission is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.

To enroll an athlete, or to volunteer, call 652-8662.

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