MAPLE PARK – The Maple Park Police Department placed first in the state in a fundraising effort for the 2013 Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics, officials said.
In total, the department raised $63,195.75. It even beat out much larger departments, including the Illinois State Police and Chicago police. Eighty-five agencies had participated.
Maple Park Police Chief Mike Acosta said he is the only full-time member of his department, which has six part-time officers. The fundraising effort is not just carried out by Maple Park officers, he said, but by an extended group.
“I have a core group of people that used to do it for the Illinois Department of Corrections,” Acosta said. “Colleen MacRunnels of Elburn used to work for Illinois Youth Center in St. Charles. She did fundraising for them for Special Olympics for three years there.”
MacRunnels retired but still wanted to do Torch Run fundraising, Acosta said. She came to him and village officials, and they began working together.
Their first year participating in the Torch Run in 2011 raised $20,000 and in 2012 they cleared $38,000, MacRunnels said.
“It was a lot of hard work but a lot of fun,” MacRunnels said. “We hope to keep that spot this year but there’s a lot of competition.”
Although the full fundraising effort does not fall on seven people in the department, Acosta said, the group still is smaller than the state police, Chicago and many other departments.
MacRunnels said the biggest fundraiser is at the St. Charles Sportsman’s Club in Blackberry Township near Elburn, where supporters pay $75 to shoot at clay pigeons, have lunch, get a hat and shirt and can win prizes. Not everyone who attends shoots, she said.
“There were 306 shooters and we served over 500 people lunch,” MacRunnels said. “We gave away more than $20,000 in prizes.”
Maple Park police were presented with a proclamation for their contribution to the Torch Run at a recent DeKalb County Board meeting.
Police agency contributions through Torch Run events is significant, said Special Olympics Illinois spokeswoman Michele Evans.
“For the state of Illinois, the Law Enforcement Torch Run raised more than $3 million, and that amount of money helps us continue to offer the quality programs we do [for] our athletes and the great experiences they have,” Evans said. “Without that, we would not be able to have as great a program as we do.”
The St. Charles Police Department ranked 16th in the state, raising nearly $21,000, according to the Special Olympics Illinois tally.
Meanwhile, the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office ranked 18th, raising more than $20,000. Geneva ranked 29th, raising more than $15,300, and Batavia ranked 66th, raising more than $6,700, according to the tally.