Posted on: May 15, 2017
[ARCHIVED] Local Special Olympics Athlete And Westmont Police Featured In Cop On A Rooftop Ad Campaign
Village of Westmont
Date Issued: May 15, 2017
“A few weeks ago, we received an email from our Global Messenger contact and learned that Erin was selected to be the face of the Cop on a Rooftop fundraiser,” said Diane Compton, who is the mother of Erin Compton, a Special Olympics athlete. “We were very excited. The Global Messenger program has meant so much to her.”
Erin and Westmont Police Department Deputy Chief Brian Gruen are the “stars” of the ad campaign for the annual Special Olympics fundraiser Cop On A Rooftop, hosted by Dunkin’ Donuts. Erin and Deputy Chief Gruen are featured in posters, videos, and even a billboard campaign to promote the event. The Cop On A Rooftop fundraiser will take place at participating Dunkin’ Donuts on Friday, May 19, 5:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
For Erin and other athletes with special needs, being part of Special Olympics is much more than having an opportunity to compete and have fun. “Special Olympics makes me love being me,” said Erin. “I love the rhythmic gymnastics routines and riding horses. Being a Global Messenger is awesome!” The Special Olympics Global Messenger Program allows athletes with special needs the opportunity to provide outreach and encourage advocacy for people with intellectual disabilities.
As a Special Olympics Illinois Global Messenger, Erin was asked to meet with Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner to invite him to support Special Olympics. Governor Rauner enthusiastically responded “yes” to Erin’s question “Will you be on our team?”
Following is the link to Erin’s meeting with Governor Rauner:
To become a Special Olympics Global Messenger, Erin attended a 2-day public speaking course. Since that time, Erin has given numerous speeches at various events regarding the importance of advocacy for people with special needs.
Diane recalls a time of great fear and uncertainty when Erin was first born. “Erin had a lot of medical issues,” shared Diane. “For the first two years, really.” And then a friend from the community and an active member of the Illinois Law Enforcement Torch Run introduced the Compton’s to the idea of joining Special Olympics.
“We saw Dawn and let her know of Erin’s situation and her response was surprising,” revealed Diane talking about Westmont resident and community Law Enforcement Torch Run volunteer Dawn King. “Dawn said, ‘Great! She can be in Special Olympics!’” Diane continued, “At that time, the only thing we could focus on was Erin’s health concerns, which were overwhelming. But everytime we saw Dawn, she kept pushing us to join Special Olympics. Eventually, we started our own local team and it’s been a life-changing experience. It was Dawn’s prodding that gave me the encourage to make it happen.”
The Westmont Police Department has supported Special Olympics Illinois for many years, but this year, they’ve really stepped it up. “Chief Gunther and the FOP have set some ambitious goals for 2017,” said Deputy Chief Gruen. “We’re hoping to raise $15,000 this year, which is more than triple any previous year.”
The Westmont Police Department has already completed several fundraising events and are working on more. In April, the Westmont Fraternal Order of Police coordinated a volleyball tournament with local schools and the Westmont Fire Department, which raised $2600. They’ve also hosted fundraising nights with local restaurants including Chipotle and Potbelly. And they are currently working the “5-0 Whiskers Club” in which Westmont Police Officers will grow beards and solicit sponsors to raise money.
“If we raise $15,000, then we get Westmont’s name on the back of next year’s Torch Run t-shirt,” admitted Westmont Chief of Police Jim Gunther. “The department is very excited about this and it’s fun for us while we’re raising money for a great cause.”
The Illinois Law Enforcement Torch Run is a State-wide effort to raise money for Special Olympics. One of their events is the actual Torch Run in which the Special Olympics Torch is carried by law enforcement personnel across the State of Illinois. The Torch Run will come through Westmont on Sunday, June 4. Details and times will be announced soon.
“These events bring awareness to the Special Olympic athletes,” said Diane. “It brings so many different groups together for one great cause. Special Olympics means a lot to us. It’s been more than an event - it’s changed our lives!”
Contact: Larry McIntyre
Village of Westmont Communications Director
Public Information Officer