MAPLE PARK – The Maple Park Police Department had one goal this year for its participation in the Law Enforcement Torch Run: to raise the most money in the state.
Although it was up against some heavy hitters – such as the Illinois State Police – the department of seven officers pulled through, Chief Mike Acosta said.
But, he noted, the Maple Park police couldn’t have raised more than $63,000 without the help of others who believe in Special Olympics Illinois, which the Torch Run benefits.
Colleen MacRunnels was among those who helped the department.
The Elburn resident said she assisted the Illinois Department of Corrections with its Torch Run efforts when she was employed with that agency.
She reached out to Maple Park when she retired from the IDOC, she said, describing herself as someone who believes in Special Olympics.
“If you see these kids. … They’re just such loving kids. How can you not help them?” MacRunnels said. “It just gives them an opportunity to participate in something they wouldn’t be able to if we didn’t do fundraisers.”
The Torch Run in Illinois has grown from an event that raised about $14,000 in 1986 to a fundraising effort that nearly hit the $3 million mark in 2012, according to the 2012 brochure.
About 3,000 officers from every branch of law enforcement – including local police officers and FBI agents – are involved with the Torch Run, which aims to raise money and gain awareness for the athletes who participate in Special Olympics Illinois.
“It’s a beautiful cause,” Acosta said. “We look forward to next year’s fundraising season. Hopefully, we get the next goal, which is to be the biggest donation ever in Illinois’ history.”
Setting the all-time record would take about $13,000 more than was raised this year, Acosta said. Maybe, he said, the department could even go up to $100,000.
MacRunnels said $100,000 is a doable goal depending on sponsors and event attendees. She encouraged people to call her at 630-365-2943 with ideas for – or questions about – the Torch Run, which begins in February.
For this year’s achievement, the Maple Park Police Department will be listed first on the 2014 Torch Run shirt and will get a trophy, likely in February, Acosta said. He said the department plans to show it off.
“It will be traveling the village because it belongs to the village,” he said.