Thursday September 01, 2016
Officer Brianne Williamson from the South Burlington Police Department truly went above and beyond her normal call of duty when she spent 24 hours on top of a roof to raise funds and awareness for Special Olympics Vermont. The event, called Cop on Top, was held Saturday, August 20, at the Green Mountain Harley-Davidson in Essex Junction and raised over $4,000, meeting the event’s fundraising goal. Participating in the overnight stunt with Officer Williamson was Deputy Jessica Ryan-LeBlanc of the Rutland County Sheriff’s Department.
Throughout the year and around the world, law enforcement raises funds and awareness for Special Olympics in a variety of unique ways, including Cop On Top. The Law Enforcement Torch Run is best known for the statewide running event leading into the Special Olympics Vermont Summer Games. In Vermont, Torch Run and events like the Cop On Top raise close to $80,000 a year to support sports training and competition for athletes. All proceeds from the unique Cop on Top event are used to support sports training and competition for the organization’s 1,500 athletes and partners.
Special Olympics Vermont Marketing and Events Manager Liza Reed said, “Green Mountain Harley-Davidson and the law enforcement agencies are wonderful supporters of Special Olympics Vermont and we were very honored to partner with them.” Peter Curless, owner and general manager of Green Mountain Harley-Davidson, is a long standing supporter of Special Olympics Vermont and currently sits on their board of directors.
Officer Williamson’s 24 hour stint on the rooftop provided a unique opportunity to raise awareness. She said, “I’m pretty heavily involved with Special Olympics Vermont (SVOT) through the Law Enforcement Torch Run Executive Board. I go to SVOT Summer and Winter Games, basketball tournaments, and bowling tournaments to award medals to the athletes. They all know me by my pink handcuffs.” Williamson has done at least 5 jumps into Lake Champlain for the Penguin Plunge, has run multiple years in the Torch Run, and participates in Tip-a-Cop events.
Reflecting on her extensive involvement with the organization, Officer Williamson said, “Special Olympics is more than just sports. The athletes that I have met hold a special place in my heart.”
Special Olympics Vermont is part of a global movement that works year round to foster acceptance and inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities by using the power of sport to showcase their gifts and abilities. In Vermont, athletes and partners train and compete in 12 Olympic type sports. Through successful experiences in sports, SOVT athletes gain confidence and build positive self-images, which follow them into their homes, classrooms, jobs, and communities.