Ventura County Special Olympics Thrives with Successful Tip-A-Cop Fundraiser

Ventura Police officers and staff took to the streets carrying the symbolic “Flame of Hope.” Photo courtesy City of Ventura.

by Patricia Schallert

Finney’s General Manager, Jordan Cole with Goretti Ortiz, Director of Corporate
Partnerships, Special Olympics

On May 28, there was excitement around the return of the “Tip-A-Cop” fundraiser, in partnership with Finney’s Craft-house, to support the remarkable athletes of Ventura County Special Olympics. The Ventura Police Department (VPD) officers joined forces with Finney’s Craft-house staff and worked as servers at 494 E. Main Street in downtown Ventura for this fantastic community event.

Sergeant Ryan Reynosa emphasized the significance of every single dollar raised during this event. “Not only did it help support the Special Olympics athletes, but it also fostered unity and acceptance within our Ventura community. With our sights set on surpassing the previous year’s total of $6,600, we were immensely grateful to Jordon Cole, the general manager of Finney’s Craft-house, along with his staff, for their unwavering support. We will continue to be immensely grateful for the dedication shown by our fellow officers.”

What made this event even more special, Finney’s Craft-house generously pledged to donate 20% of the proceeds to Ventura County Special Olympics. This incredible contribution went a long way in ensuring the success and growth of the Special Olympians from Ventura County.

Tip-A-Cop Fundraiser: Sergeant Ryan Reynosa with Steve Gluck, Antonio Morales, Ben Watt , Ian Eaton Photos by Patricia Schallert

During the Tip-A-Cop fundraiser, there were VPD officers, Special Olympics athletes, and Finney’s staff working hand in hand as guest servers. They collected the “tip” donations from diners, all while ensuring that the regular earnings of the servers were not affected. To make donating even more convenient, each guest received envelopes to contribute directly to the cause. This way, the impact was felt without any unintended consequences for the servers.

For Special Olympics athletes like Steve Glick, the opportunity to “meet new people” was the highlight of the Special Olympic event. Another athlete, Antonio Morales, on the other hand, while he enjoyed participating in the Social Olympics, mostly enjoyed “mingling with well-known individuals.” “The famous people,” he said who attended the Special Olympic Games. And let’s not forget Ian Eaton, who eagerly awaited the torch run, which kicked off on June 6.

The Ventura County Special Olympics is a truly remarkable organization that offers year-round sports training and competitions. They provide individuals with intellectual and physical disabilities a platform to develop their skills, enhance their fitness, and build meaningful friendships.

Calendars were marked and the word was spread on the “June gloom” morning of June 8. The athletes from Ventura were ready to compete at Cal State University Long Beach. Ventura County participants and spectators supported not just Ventura athletes but all of the 1,100 Special Olympians as they competed in swimming, basketball, track, gymnastics, and more. This event was a resounding success thanks to Ventura and the VPD and sponsors: Walden Surfboards, Mile 26 Running Co, the Ventura Police Officers Association, and the Ventura Police Community Foundation, for their generous support.

“Let me win…But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Ventura Police Officers Illuminate the Path for Ventura County Special Olympics

Ventura Police officers and staff took to the streets on Thursday, June 6, carrying the symbolic “Flame of Hope” torch for the Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run. Starting at the Ventura City Hall, participants embarked on a non-competitive, segmented run, passing the torch through the heart of Ventura before handing it off to the Oxnard Police Department. This relay spans 1,100 miles across Ventura County, culminating in the ceremonial lighting of the torch at the start of the Games.

The Law Enforcement Torch Run serves as the primary awareness and fundraising initiative for Special Olympics, uniting law enforcement agencies and athletes alike. In Southern California, nine legs of the run connect communities from San Luis Obispo to San Diego, symbolizing the collective commitment to inclusion and support for Special Olympics athletes. The journey concludes with the much-anticipated Special Olympics California Summer Games, held in Long Beach last weekend, celebrating the spirit of athleticism and camaraderie.

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