Local Police Stepping Up Fundraising Efforts
By Brandi Makuski
Law enforcement officials in Stevens Point have entered some new territory over recent months- that of public awareness fundraising.
In March Sgt. Tony Babl announced the 1st annual “Run From the Cops” 5-K event slated for October. The $25 registration fee will benefit area youth programs as well as the Police Officer’s Organization.
“We wanted to do something different,” Babl said. “This kind of event supports our officers but it also supports area youth organizations, which we’ve done a lot of over the years.”
Run From the Cops is a nationally- recognized fundraiser for local policeman’s organizations, bringing members of the public together with local law enforcement for a 5-K run. Participants receive a t-shirt and free food and awards will be handed out after the race.
The course will begin at the Stevens Point Courthouse and follow portions of Church St., Arlington Place and the Green Circle Trail to Bukolt Park before turning back to the courthouse.
The event is in need of sponsors, donations and volunteers, said Sgt. Tony Babl from the Stevens Point Police Department.
Babl told the Police & Fire Commission the department hadn’t yet decided which local youth organizations the fundraiser would benefit, but hopes the event becomes a favorite for residents.
For more information, or to volunteer, contact Babl at (715) 346-1400 or [email protected]
Last month the department also announced a fundraiser to benefit a Never Forgotten Honor Flight for Portage Co. veterans. The City-Times reported in early June Chief Kevin Ruder’s announcement of the 1st annual “Guns & Hoses” softball tournament fundraiser.
“I’ve known for a while we need to step up our public relations efforts in this community,” said Chief Kevin Ruder. “Seeing some of the interest being generated about the 5-K event, and when the Honor Flight idea came up, I knew it was time to move ahead.”
Days after announcing the event, Ruder had $9,000 raised. Two weeks later he said over $19,000 had been raised for the flight.
According to Portage Co. Veterans Services Officer Michael Clements, there are more than 30 veterans from WWII as well as wars in Korea and Vietnam waiting for their chance to take the flight. The trip costs $500 for each veteran, and Clements is calling on the leaders from area veteran service organizations, including the VFW, AMVETS and the American Legion, to work together in making the fundraiser a success.
“Initially, I told Honor Flight that we’d shoot for a goal of $5,000 total,” Ruder said. “But I raised $5,000 in about eight minutes, so now we’re going for the whole shebang: I’m going to try to raise the whole $18,000 (the cost of a full flight) by the time the game starts in September.”
Ruder said Point Brewery has already offered to fund four of the tickets, and is also providing root beer and merchandise to support the day-long event.
The police department will display its new Caiman MRAP armored vehicle along with other police vehicles for the public. Fire trucks and equipment, along with military equipment will also be on display.
Ruder said the event will “very family friendly” and while game participation will be limited to off-duty personnel, he said on-duty police and firefighters will be on hand to answers questions and interact with the public.
“If you’re a veteran and you haven’t signed up, sign up because there’s a good chance you’re going to go,” Ruder said. “Right now Portage County has 36 (Honor Flight applicants); we’re going to send every one of them.”
For more information, to donate or volunteer time, contact Chief Ruder at [email protected]