Whether you play sports at your school, in a rec league or just with your neighborhood friends, you know what it means to “Get the W.” It means you Win.
All of us at MOVE believe that anytime you’re doing something to have fun and get fit, you definitely get the W. But for people with intellectual and neurological disabilities, the Ws in life are harder to come by. Not because they aren’t capable of competing, but because there aren’t always a lot of opportunities for them to compete.
Special Olympics Arizona (SOAZ) offers them just that chance, and the Tucson Police Department plays a vital role in making the Special Olympics happen here in Tucson. Holly Thompson has been with SOAZ for 10 years. When we asked her about the TPD’s involvement with SOAZ, she said, “There are so many things our local law enforcement officers and staff do that I can’t even name them all! One of the most visible fundraisers they do is the ‘Cop on Top’ Safeway Store events, during which they offer fun and informative interaction with local residents. They also help with the Chester’s Harley Davidson Torch Run. And they provide countless volunteers when we have events for the Special Olympics participants themselves.”
Nancy Mulleneax, a 31-year veteran (retired) of TPD, told us more about the Torch Run, which involves more than 2,000 Harley Davidson riders in a police-escorted ride to raise money for SOAZ. According to Mulleneax, TPD also assists with the Torch Run – an annual relay that is run in conjunction with the summer SO games – during which participants run from SO agency to SO agency across Arizona. Last year, the State of Arizona raised about $500,000 in these torch events! According to Mulleneax, TPD personnel help with many competitions during the Special Olympics, usually in uniform. They also help present awards, and the athletes love their TPD friends!
Says Thompson, “This is the most rewarding job I’ve ever had. It’s all about the athletes, about making sure that they make it to events, have coaches and are given the time they deserve to be successful. It’s why we do what we do. And the TPD volunteers are some of the hundreds who contribute countless hours. I honestly couldn’t do my job if it weren’t for these volunteers; they are truly amazing.”
With summertime on its way, volunteer time is not as critical as donations of cash, in-kind, meal, sponsorship and services. So keep your eyes open for TPD officers and staff … they’ll be visible throughout Tucson as they raise money for Special Olympics Arizona. They sure get the W in our book!
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