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By Amye Stivender
If you were driving down Bells Highway on Friday, March 17th and happened to glance over at Burger King, you may have noticed something you’ve never seen before in Walterboro- cops on a rooftop. Police officers from Walterboro Police Department bared the cold all day to raise money and awareness for the South Carolina Special Olympics. The nationally known fundraiser, Cops on Top, is a fundraising event generally held on a donut shop or restaurant where officers stand on the rooftop and raise awareness for Special Olympics. This is the first year that the Walterboro Police Department has held this fundraiser and local business owners, Cook Enterprises, were gracious enough to allow the department to hold the event at their restaurant. Cook Enterprises participates in many community events with the police department throughout the year and have always been eager to help. The fundraiser began at 7:00am Friday morning and did not end until 7:00pm Friday evening. Police officers stood on the roof, sidewalks, and in the dining area of Burger King with blue buckets asking for donations that would be given directly to South Carolina Special Olympic athletes. Fundraisers for Special Olympics are generally held before the annual Law Enforcement Torch Run.
The Walterboro Police Department, along with Colleton County Sheriff’s Office, and Walterboro Fire Department, participated in the annual Special Olympic Torch Run last year. The torch run begins at Walterboro City Hall and goes to the Colleton County Middle School track. Officers carry a torch during the run until they reach the track, at which time officers light the official torch and kick off the local Special Olympic Games. There are about 25,588 athletes who compete in Special Olympics throughout the state. “Fundraiser for the Law Enforcement Torch Run is the largest source of funding for our athletes,” according to Sue Maner, Executive Vice President of Special Olympics. Maner said that last year there were 54 fundraisers held throughout the state and they depend on that money to fund over 400 events held each year for athletes to compete in.
“ Our goal is to keep the athletes busy with sports which are backed with health and education programs,” Maner said. The Walterboro Police Department raised a total of $1,744.00 for Special Olympics. Chief Marvin of the
Walterboro Police Department said, “This was a great opportunity for our department to raise awareness and give back.” Special Olympics also provided t-shirts and hats with their Torch Run logo on them for $15.00 donations. Officers will take part in the local Special Olympic Torch Run on April 5th, 2017. “We are very excited to have Walterboro Police Department take part in our annual torch run and host their first fundraiser for our athletes,” said
Maner. “Speaking on behalf of Burger King of Walterboro locally owned and operated since 1995 by the Cook Enterprises III Inc. family, I would like to thank the Walterboro Police Department for their interest in letting us host the Walterboro’s 1st annual Cops on Top promotion. We had a very successful day and raised a lot of money and attention, for a really good cause. And we were proud and honored to host this Law Enforcement Charity Promo. Being a 3rd Generation entrepreneur in this business, it’s all about giving back to the community in every way you can, because your local community is what makes your local business alive and well,” said Burger King’s Director of Operations & Marketing, Josh R. Bell.