Tulsa FOP gives $15,000 to fund 75 Special Olympians
BY JERRY WOFFORD World Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
1/23/13 at 4:27 AM
A donation from the Tulsa Fraternal Order of Police chapter will fund the full cost for 75 Special Olympics athletes this year, the police union said Tuesday.
The $15,000 donation will be one of the largest donations given by the FOP, said group President Clay Ballenger.
"We're pretty excited about it," he said. "This is definitely the largest donation we've ever made, at least in recent memory."
The money will be given to the Law Enforcement Torch Run, which spends all of its efforts on helping Special Olympics athletes across Oklahoma.
Ballenger said the $15,000 will be used to fund training costs, competition expenses and equipment.
Jennifer Lightle, special events director for Special Olympics Oklahoma, said the money will go a long way toward helping many of the athletes they serve.
"That is a huge donation for us," she said. "For us to have an athlete to participate through the year, it costs about $200. You can see the huge impact they're making."
About 9,500 athletes compete in Special Olympics Oklahoma events, Lightle said. They compete in 120 events in 15 sports throughout the year, including the annual Summer Games in May in Stillwater, the largest event of the year.
The Tulsa FOP recently decided to increase its community involvement, including with its biggest partner.
"Our membership voted a while back to raise funds to beef up events," Ballenger said. "Special Olympics is our No. 1 fundraiser."
The donation is not only the largest from the FOP in several years, it is the largest donation to the Law Enforcement Torch Run this year, he said.
The money was collected through donations from Tulsa police officers, Ballenger said.
Mark Wollmershauser, executive director of the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics, said in a news release that the donation will go a long way and help build communities.
"The Tulsa FOP and its members are stepping forward in a fantastic way by funding a worthy cause dear to Oklahoma," he said.
"Athletes carry the benefits from their involvement in Special Olympics with them in their daily lives at home, in the classroom, on the job and in the community," he added. "Families are strengthened and the community increases its understanding, acceptance and respect of these individuals."
Original Print Headline: Tulsa FOP gift to fund 75 Special Olympians
Jerry Wofford 918-581-8310