Tip-a-Cop Raises Thousands for Special Olympics Md. - Southern Maryland Headline News

Tip-a-Cop Raises Thousands for Special Olympics Md.

Cpl. Gary Owen, of the Charles Co. Sheriff's Office, talks about Special Olympics with citizens following their meal at the Red Robin in Waldorf. (Submitted photo)

WALDORF, Md. (April 13, 2011) — Red Robin might be known best for its gourmet burgers and bottomless fries but on March 26, the Waldorf restaurant served an extra helping of community spirit, too, when it hosted the Charles County Sheriff’s Office’s second annual Tip-a-Cop fundraiser for Special Olympics Maryland.

In Waldorf and at Red Robins nationwide, police officers waited tables and sold T-shirts that commemorate the upcoming Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics. By closing time, Charles County Sheriff’s officers had raised $7,008 — collecting $3,948 in tips, selling $3,060 in T-shirts and surpassing the amount they raised last year by more than $2,000. Special Olympics Maryland reported $25,000 was raised statewide and state Torch Run officials anticipate more than $1 million was raised nationally.

“I was astonished as I watched as the tips kept coming and the T-shirts kept going,” said Sgt. Chris Schmidt, a supervisor in the Community Policing Unit who along with Sgt. Gus Proctor helped coordinate the fundraiser. “People gave what they could and as I counted the tips I was finding not just dollar bills but 10s and 20s, too. It was unbelievable and I can’t thank the good people of Charles County and the gracious managers and staff at Red Robin enough for making this such an outstanding success.”

Last year, the Charles County Sheriff’s Office raised $16,178 for Special Olympics Maryland by participating in Tip-a-Cop and the Torch Run. Just a few months into the near year, officers have already raised nearly half of 2010’s cumulative donation, which was the highest to Special Olympics Maryland that year.

“I want to thank all the citizens of Charles County for their generosity,” said Sgt. Proctor. “Every year, this gets bigger and better and I am truly honored to be part of it.”

In Maryland – and in Charles County – breaking Special Olympics fundraising records is remarkably commonplace. At the Law Enforcement Torch Run International Conference in Long Beach, Calif., last October, Special Olympics officials recognized the Maryland chapter of the organization for raising more money than any chapter in the world for the fourth consecutive year and for becoming the first chapter to exceed $4 million. Maryland’s donation was significantly higher than even the second-place fundraising state, New Jersey, which raised $2.7 million. The Charles County Sheriff’s Office has a major role in Maryland’s record-breaking success: In five years, officers have sold nearly $80,000 in Torch Run T-shirts and for the last four years have been the top fundraising organization in the state. Special Olympics has chapters in all 50 states and in more than 30 countries.

“If the massively successful Tip-a-Cop is any indication, Charles County is going to make this another wonderful year for Special Olympics Maryland and its amazing athletes,” said Sheriff Rex Coffey. “I want to thank everyone who made contributions: the officers who waited tables, Red Robin for opening its doors to us, and all the citizens and off-duty Sheriff’s Office personnel for opening their wallets and their hearts to this cause. Events like this are what make our county special.”

Citizens who want to help raise more money for Special Olympics Maryland – and perhaps burn some of those Red Robin calories – can join the Sheriff’s Office for the Torch Run June 9. Three routes – one for runners and two for walkers – will depart and return to Texas Roadhouse in La Plata as the Flame of Hope makes its way through Charles County before reaching the opening ceremonies of the 2011 Special Olympics Summer Games at Towson University. No registration is required. Simply purchase a Torch Run T-shirt or hat and wear it to the event. Call Sgt. Schmidt at 301-609-6531 to purchase a shirt.

To learn more about Red Robin, visit www.redrobin.com. To learn more about Special Olympics Maryland, visit www.somd.org. To learn more about the Sheriff’s Office, visit www.ccso.us. To see the Sheriff’s Office’s collection of Tip-a-Cop photographs, visit www.facebook.com/ccsomd; users do not need a Facebook account to view the photos.

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