Cops to camp on roof for Special Olympics
While many people spend their weekends camping in the summertime, few do it on a rooftop. But that's exactly where three local cops will be the third weekend in May to raise money for Special Olympics.
Starting Friday, May 16 at noon, Deputy Daniel Blagg will once again pitch a tent atop the old Belk Building and will not come down until the afternoon of Sunday, May 18.
This year, Blagg won't be alone. Lt. Tim O'Neil with the Waynesville Police Department, Sgt. Shawn Gaddis from the Canton Police Department and Det. Archie Shuler from the Maggie Valley Police Department have committed to take to the roof as well.
Last year was the first time any local cop took on this type of fundraiser, and it turned out to be a trying weekend for Blagg. Not long after setting up his tent that Friday afternoon, a cold rain started falling.
"It never did quit raining," Blagg said following the event last year.
He remained wet and cold as temperatures dipped into the 30's until he came down from the roof Sunday afternoon.
Perhaps it was his determination to remain on the roof despite the weather that helped him double his fundraising goal last year. Over the weekend, he collected about $10,000 in donations.
People came at all hours to donate money as early as 5 a.m. and as late as midnight. Each time, he left the warmth of his tent to prove that he was in fact still camping on the roof. But it was all worth it to Blagg.
"Even if it rained again this year, I'd go up there with a smile," he said.
This year, Blagg is hopeful for warmer, dryer weather and even more money from the generous people of Haywood County. Those who wish to donate money may simply walk up to the building and get one of the officer's attention. Then, one of them will lower a bucket to collect the money.
Blagg's goal is to raise at least $15,000, 15 percent of which will directly benefit the Haywood County Special Olympics. Though that may not seem like much, he said he likes the idea that the funds raised will help Special Olympics athletes across the state, some of which may not have many fundraising efforts in their communities.
"There are other kids and athletes in other counties that don't have a cop willing to sit on a roof to raise money for them," he said.
He also hopes to draw in the community from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 17 to see all of the county's emergency personnel. Fellow officers, fire fighters and emergency management workers will park their emergency vehicles at the parking lot to meet and greet the community.
"This event isn't just about the fundraising, it's also about unifying the community. This is an opportunity to let citizens meet the people serving them day in and day out and get to know us on a personal level," Blagg said.
There will be t-shirts and other items for sale in the parking lot Friday from noon to 8 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.