Local law enforcement officers will take to the roofs of area Krogers next Friday to support Special Olympics in the annual Cops on Top fundraising event.
Law enforcement from the Auburn Police Division, Opelika Police Department and the Lee County Sheriff's Office are taking part in the event, which will take place from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. next Friday at the Kroger on Dean Road and in Tiger Town.
All of the funds raised, which is usually in the ballpark of $10,000, will go toward the Special Olympics program in Lee County, which also includes athletes from Russell, Tallapoosa and Macon counties, said Elizabeth Kaufman, director of Lee County Special Olympics.
The funds help with travel expenses for Special Olympics athletes, both to the annual state games and the national games, which will next occur in Orlando in 2022.
"The dollars definitely help us for traveling for events, they enable us to grow our programs, give our athletes more opportunities. They also give us a chance to buy more equipment, buy new jerseys, everything like that," Kaufman said. "We’d love to have people stop by and visit us, stop by and buy lunch at Kroger, donate — those are the best ways to get everybody involved."
Special guests, like Auburn Mayor Ron Anders, Aubie, former Auburn football players and Auburn baseball coach Butch Thompson, will make appearances throughout the day at both locations.
"We have a good bit of people coming out that are going to support and just hang out, and we’re still working on getting even more," said Conner Nesmith, who is spearheading bringing more guests to the event.
"It means the world to us," added Kaufman. "It’s a great chance for the community to see that our athletes are amazing individuals with amazing talents. It’s great to just have that community inclusion piece, and it’s also awesome for them to just see how our local law enforcement helps us."
Local law enforcement will also be taking part in the Alabama Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics, which kicks of the state games at Troy University. The Torch Run will take place May 16-17, with the state games running May 17-19.
"The torch run is a big deal for us," said Kaufman. "That torch represents our flame of hope.
"The Special Olympics flame of hope is a globally recognized symbol for inclusion, courage and diversity. That’s what they’re running with during the torch run, so it just symbolizes everything Special Olympics stands for."
Those wanting to volunteer for the Cops on Top event can sign up at http://signup.com/go/zNadCXd.
"They can go and sign up for times. It will help us know who’s coming and when," she said.
For more information on Lee County Special Olympics, go to their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/specialolympicsalleeco/.
More information for the Torch Run can be found at https://www.facebook.com/Alabama-Law-Enforcement-Torch-Run-for-Special-Olympics-322872521474/.
"It's extremely important for community members to come out and support Lee County's Special Olympics athletes, as well as local law enforcement," said Kaufman.