Oak Brook police don’t mind ‘waiting’ to help Special Olympics
Oak Brook Police Officer Erica Huff serves up a table's order while raising money for Special Olympics Illinois at Labriola Cafe Aug. 3. | Curtis Lehmkuhl~Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 8, 2012 1:55AM
OAK BROOK — The Oak Brook Police Department provided a different kind of service Friday to raise money for Special Olympics Illinois.
This most recent fundraising effort was one of several done during the year by the Oak Brook police, who have collected about $8,000 in donations in 2012, including more than $1,700 Friday.
The theme for Friday was Tip-A-Cop. Seven participating officers worked alongside servers from 4-8:30 p.m. at Labriola Bakery Café, 3021 Butterfield Road, to collect tips from customers. All the collected tip money is being given to the Special Olympics.
Previous fundraising efforts in 2012 have included the June 1 Cop on Top, during which officers stood on top of Dunkin’ Donuts stores and asked customers to make a donation to be let inside. A July 20 fundraiser, Change for Real Change, had officers out on the street collecting spare change as donations.
“These are things that are a fun twist for fundraising, and it’s an opportunity for people in the community to come and see us in a different light,” said Officer Erica Huff, who added discussions have already begun for the next fundraising event.
Officer George Peterson has been with the Oak Brook department for 16 years and has been an organizer of this year’s fundraising events.
“I’m very involved with fundraising in my personal life and decided to use my talents in that area to help with this,” he said. “I have two kids who pay athletics, and I think it’s great to do what we can to help the kids involved in Special Olympics.”
Special Olympics provides year-round sports training and competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. It provides 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, according to information from Special Olympics Illinois.
For Mike McTighe, a community service officer for the Oak Brook police, taking part in Friday’s fundraiser offered a return to his previous career. He worked for seven years in the restaurant business, including four as a manager, until 2010.
“Doing this brings me back to my college years,” McTighe said with a laugh. “I’m very happy to help with this. It’s for a great cause, it’s a lot of fun, and I think we’re doing OK.”
Labriola Manager Matt Kelly said he was happy to make the restaurant available for the fundraiser.
“It’s a great idea, and it’s going well,” he said. “We were more than happy to be a part of this because we want to be about the community.”
Alberto Aguilar has worked at Labriola for about three years and didn’t mind working alongside the Oak Brook police officers for a few hours Friday.
“It’s really pretty cool,” he said. “It’s good to raise money like this, and they’re doing a pretty good job, too.”
La Grange resident Danielle Lucio was at Labriola Friday to dine with a friend and knew nothing about the fundraiser as she walked in. She was surprised to see several police officers there.
“I really didn’t know what was going on, and it seemed very strange, but when they told us I thought it was a very good idea because it’s for a good cause,” Lucio said. “And we’ll definitely leave them a tip for this.”