02/15/12 — Law enforcement gearing up for Special Olympics fundraisers

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Law enforcement gearing up for Special Olympics fundraisers

By Gary Popp
Published in News on February 15, 2012 1:46 PM

After a revitalization of the Goldsboro Police Department's Torch Run program last year, officers are looking to continue their success of supporting the North Carolina Special Olympics.

Through a number of fundraising activities during 2011, nearly $16,000 was generated for the state's Special Olympics athletes, dwarfing the $1,372 raised the year before.

The increase in energy and fundraising can be attributed in large part to Investigator Dwayne Bevell and Sgt. Dale Foster, who accepted leadership roles at the department's Torch Run efforts last year.

The dedication exhibited by officers Bevell and Foster caught the attention of state-level Torch Run organizers, who honored each man with a Torch Run Director's Award during the 2012 kick-off ceremony last month.

While Bevell's award is engraved with his name, he said the recognition is a reflection of the goodwill of local community members.

"The fact that our agency is so much smaller compared to the larger agencies who participate shows that Wayne County residents really care about their Special Olympic athletes. If you look at the top fundraisers in the state, we were only beat out by 11 agencies," Bevell said.

He added that Goldsboro police were in the ranks of much larger agencies including the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and the state Highway Patrol.

Bevell said he stays enthusiastic about the fundraising events throughout the year by the joy and appreciation expressed by the athletes for the work performed by the local volunteers.

"They are so thankful for everything you do and such a joy to be around," Bevell said. "The response from athletes when they come to our events and when we go to theirs is overwhelming. We have over 400 athletes in Wayne County, and it's great to show them we care."

Bevell said it is difficult to explain why he and other lawmen are drawn to work so diligently with the Torch Run, but part of appeal is the opportunity to break from the oftentimes gritty police work.

"I also think that police officers are called to duty by a sense of service and a longing to help others. The Torch Run is a different way for us to do that," he said. "Instead of dealing with the criminals and horrific parts of our jobs, we get to go into the community and raise funds and awareness for a group of people we would otherwise be unable to help. The athletes are always glad to see us and eager to lend a hand."

Along with the events below, the department is currently raising funds by selling 2012 North Carolina Special Olympics Torch Run shirts to the public.

Cotton T-shirts are available for $15 and athletic technical shirts can be bought for $20.

Bevell encouraged members of the public to support local Special Olympics athletes by buying the shirts. He said anyone can purchase a shirt by coming to the police department, asking any officer or contacting him directly at 580-4243.

The Goldsboro Police Department's Torch Run 2012 calendar includes these events:

*N.C. State University Polar Plunge, Feb. 25 -- Members of the Goldsboro Police Department and other volunteers have formed Team Pigsicle, a group of brave souls who are currently collecting sponsorship dollars before they take a chilly dip into Lake Raleigh at N.C. State University during the campus police's large Torch Run event.

*Tip-A-Cop, March 3 -- This event was such a success last year, the police department has scheduled two in 2012. Both events will be held a La Paz Mexican restaurant on Spence Avenue. During the event, Goldsboro police officers take over the role of waiters at the restaurant during the lunch and dinner hours. All tips are donated to the Torch Run fund.

*Cops-On-Top-Of-A-Doughnut Shop, April 13-15 -- Held on the roof of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, officers will raise money by staying on the roof of the building over the course of three days.

*Golf Tournament, May 3 -- City and county residents are invited to put together a foursome and join the tournament. Tournament and hole sponsorship opportunities are available by contacting Bevell.

*Torch Run, May 18 -- During this non-fund raising event, officers and athletes team up to run with the actual torch that is passed among law enforcement agencies across the state. The event sets the participants on a nearly 23-mile run that starts at the police department and ends at the Greene County Courthouse.

*Tip-A-Cop, June 28 -- La Paz restaurant.