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Some of the police and volunteers pose last Friday at the Dunkin’ Coffee for Champions event at one of the locations in Orland Park. (Photos by Jeff Vorva)

Some of the police and volunteers pose last Friday at the Dunkin’ Coffee for Champions event at one of the locations in Orland Park. (Photos by Jeff Vorva)

Orland Park police hit the ground for Special Olympics

By Jeff Vorva

Things have changed a little bit.

The old Dunkin’ Cop on a Rooftop event has transformed into Coffee for Champions and police from hundreds of communities in Illinois were grounded but still raised money for Special Olympics Illinois last Friday.

“For safety reasons, that’s a smart thing to do,” Orland Park Police Chief Joseph Mitchell said. “We can have a little more interaction with people.”

The Orland location at 15615 S. Harlem Ave. was buzzing with activity on August 20 as volunteers and police personnel collected money from those going through the drive-thru. One of the donations came from Oak Forest police. Another came from a man driving a pickup truck with a St. Ambrose sticker on the back who sprung for a box of donuts for the group raising money.

“This is an outstanding campaign – it’s close to my heart,” Mitchell said. “I have a relative with special needs and this hits home to me.”

COP 3 CHIEF

Orland Park Police Chief Joseph Mitchell holds up a mug for sale at Dunkin’ on Harlem Ave. as part of a Coffee for Champions event to benefit Illinois Special Olympics.

Mitchell estimates that over the years, the event has raised between $20,000 and $40,000 each year.

And the Orland cops are not done yet.

Their annual bike ride through town takes place Aug. 29. The 15-mile ride starts at 7:30 a.m. at Fattie’s Pub, 14420 John Humphrey Dr. Cost is $25, and proceeds go to Special Olympics Illinois. For more information contact Ron Kus at [email protected] or call 708-364-4998.

“This is my favorite event,” Mitchell said. “Last year, during COVID, we had a phenomenal turnout. It was one of our best ever.”

There were 161 riders and more than $6,000 was raised and Kus said that it was the most money raised by the event.

Police in Palos Heights and Palos Park also took part in this year’s fundraiser.

COP 4 scaled

Orland Park’s Gail Blummer helps collect some money at the Coffee for Champions event.

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