MAPLE PARK – For a part-time organization with only seven officers, the Maple Park Police Department can pack a powerful fundraising punch.
In its two years participating in the Law Enforcement Torch Run – the single largest year-round fundraising event benefiting Special Olympics Illinois – the Maple Park Police Department has ranked 13th and fifth in overall fundraising efforts, Police Chief Michael Acosta said.
This year, it is aiming even higher.
“We’re trying to be No. 1 in the state,” Acosta said. “We wanted to add one more event to make sure we had it.”
So, in addition to the other fundraising events it holds throughout the year, the police department on Saturday launched Crazy Quail’s Pulling for Special Olympics event.
It was supported by Dean and Kim Goodenough of Goodenough Inc., Barry Bourdage of Crazy Quail and several sponsors, including Midwest Window and Supply, Bootleggers, Maple Park Pub and Grill, County Line Customs, Honest Auto, and HD Rockers.
According to the police department, the target shooting event raised about $5,000. About 110 people shot more than 55,000 shotgun shells, Acosta said.
“It went really well for our first time and three weeks of planning,” Acosta said, noting it likely will become an annual event.
Last year, the police department’s fundraising efforts netted about $40,000 for Special Olympics Illinois, doubling its inaugural earnings, Acosta said.
The latest reports indicate Maple Park is on track to being No. 1 this year, the chief said.
“We’re also trying for the Flame of Hope trophy,” he said.
The honor is awarded to the department that demonstrates the greatest effort for Special Olympics and dedication to the program, Acosta said. If Maple Park gets it, he said, the police department will treat it like the Stanley Cup and have it travel around the village.
“It’s a great thing for the community,” Acosta said.
The Maple Park Police Department next year hopes to break the all-time fundraising record held by the Frankfort Police Department, which raised more than $70,000 in one year, Acosta said.
“Next year our goal is to top that,” he said.