On the heels of one of its most successful Cop on a Rooftop fundraisers, the Oak Forest Police Department Law Enforcement Torch Run team is preparing for its next fundraising challenge to benefit Special Olympics Illinois – the Five-O at the Dirty-O stock car race. On Saturday, July 22, police officers from across the state will converge on the Dirt Oval at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet to race stock vehicles decked out in their department’s patrol colors and decals. The winning officer will receive bragging rights as the fastest cop in town and the Five-O at the Dirty-O trophy.
“We’ve been working on our stock car for months, getting all of the details just right,” said Sergeant Scott Durano. “It’s been a lot of fun so far, but we’re ready to race and ready to raise more money for Special Olympics Illinois.”
To get in the race, the Oak Forest team had to raise a minimum of $500. Through generous donations and sponsorships, the team is close to achieving its own goal of $17,200. Because the starting grid is based on the amount of funds raised, Durano is hoping their efforts pay off to give race car #172 a good position. The race car’s numbers reflect the badge number of the team’s colleague Officer James Morrissy, who died in the line of duty on March 17, 2014.
“The starting position could make or break us,” Durano said. “But, we’re confident in our driver, Officer Mike Lynch. He has nerves of steel and the determination to finish ahead of the rest of the field.”
Residents can see the car up close and personal at the Oak Fest Car and Bike Show on July 2 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., at CNB Bank & Trust at 5459 W. 159th Street on July 7 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and at Allied Building Products at 16440 S. Kilbourne Avenue on July 14 from 8 a.m. to noon. During these events, anyone who makes a monetary donation to Special Olympics Illinois will be able to sign a signature panel, which will be placed in the back seat and deck lid of the race car prior to the race.
On race day, gates at the Dirt Oval open at 4 p.m. and the race begins at 7 p.m. Prior to the race, attendees will be able to see and touch emergency and specialty vehicles on display by participating police departments and emergency agencies. Following the race, the team’s demo crew will begin its third round of the demolition derby. Advance tickets are $18 for adults and $13 for children (12 and under) and can be purchased online at www.dirtoval66.com or by calling 815-740-8000.
Over the past 31 years, the Illinois Law Enforcement Torch Run has raised more than $43 million while increasing awareness of Special Olympics Illinois athletes and their accomplishments. Special Olympics Illinois is a not-for-profit organization offering year round training and competition in 19 sports for more than 22,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities and more than 20,000 young athletes between the ages of 2 to 7 with and without intellectual disabilities.
For more information about the Law Enforcement Torch Run and Special Olympics Illinois, call 800-394-0562 or visit www.soill.org.