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Potsdam village police officers help raise funds for Special Olympics

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POTSDAM — Although they weren’t quite on the rooftop, local village police officers still joined volunteers and athletes Monday at the Dunkin’ Donuts on Market Street to show their support for the Special Olympics.

The event was one of seven “Cops on Top” fundraisers held across the north country in which officers participate in a “rooftop sit-in” on local Dunkin’ Donuts shops. Events also took place in Plattsburgh, Malone, Saranac Lake, Champlain and Massena. Together, they raised about $6,000, according to Erin T. McCartan, associate director of development for Special Olympics New York.

In Potsdam, local Special Olympics athletes and volunteers from Living Exploring All Possibilities, Norwood, collected donations from customers as they walked or drove by.

This is the second year the event was held in Potsdam, and because of the donut shop’s pitched roof, it was the second year local police officers opted to stay on terra firma.

On-duty officer Matthew A. Seymour — one of three officers who attended Monday’s event — said he was “glad to support the cause” and local Special Olympics athletes.

With the help of LEAP’s Christopher M. Beltran, athlete Daniel Bell, Brasher Falls, said he feels good about local officers coming to help. Mr. Bell — who participates in baseball, running, field hockey and bowling — said he participates to meet new people and hang out with friends. He is one of about 25 athletes associated with LEAP this year.

People who donated received a coupon good for one free donut at participating Dunkin’ Donuts shops. Although most donations were five dollars or less, a few generous souls — who gave $20 or more — received an exclusive Cops on Top T-shirt, according to LEAP’s Assistant Director Margaret E. Madore.

”Any bit that helps the Special Olympics is always good,” she said.

In total, the event raised approximately $450.

In Massena, local officers climbed to the roof of the Main Street Dunkin’ Donuts for the inaugural event. A total of six officers participated, who were joined by two state troopers and one customs officer.

The police department agreed to do the event after being contacted by Special Olympics.

“I think any time that we can help out the community, it’s a good thing,” said Massena Police Department Lt. Mark LaBrake, who participated in the event, which raised just over $1,000.

The Special Olympics allows local athletes to participate in sporting events year round, providing training, competition, empowerment and acceptance to make a positive change in the lives of the intellectually disabled, according to a Special Olympics news release.

To donate or learn more about Special Olympics, visit www.specialolympics.org.

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