For the past 29 years, officers from law enforcement agencies throughout the state and Special Olympics Missouri have worked together through volunteer work and fundraisers to help create a more positive and profound change in the lives of children and adults with mental disabilities. Many officers give their own time to work with these incredible athletes and experience a memory lasting a life-time. The Tip-A-Trooper fundraiser is just one of the ways area troopers are able give back to this wonderful organization.
On Feb. 17, employees of the Country Cookin' Café in Platte City, along with members of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, teamed up to show their support for Special Olympics Missouri. This marked the fourth year "Tip-A-Trooper" was held at the local restaurant, which is owned by Tammy Berry, of Weston. The Troop A staff, members and employees have been supporting Special Olympics Missouri through presenting medals at the Winter Games and Basketball Competitions, Participating in the Polar Plunge (Freezin' for a Reason) and Law Enforcement Torch Run activities for years. Special Olympics athletes train and work hard, just like any other athlete. Through fundraisers like this, the patrol and others can continue to offer training and sporting events for these unbelievable athletes who push themselves to new limits and strive to be the best in their field of competition. Every year Berry and her employees, look forward to this fundraiser because they get to see the "Boys in Blue" sweat. The troopers wait and clean tables, take orders and fill empty customer's coffee cups. One customer said he had never had someone make so much fuss for him. Of course, the fundraising would not be what it is without the support of the local community who give way beyond their means. The individuals who give graciously are doing it because they believe in providing for others. This year the Tip-A-Trooper fundraiser for Special Olympics Missouri raised $1,016.87 through tips and donations. During the fundraiser, held from 7:30 a.m. to noon, $185 worth of Special Olympic T-shirts were also sold, bringing the grand total for the fundraiser to $1,201.87, a new personal best for Tip-A-Trooper. It was also very nice to see a couple of our news stations from the Kansas City area get the word out by running a special about the fundraiser on television. I am honored to be serving these people and their community. It is a fantastic venue to get to know individuals who live in the area where I serve. I heard a lot of bantering going back and forth between the troopers and patrons. I saw several local patrons laughing at and watching us because we were out of our element. Another great quote I heard during the day was when I handed one patron the bill for his meal. He said, "I don't mind paying for this ticket." In the end, with all of us working as a team, money was raised for a worthy organization. I want to thank all who were apart of making Tip-A-Trooper a success story we all can be proud about. Special Olympics Missouri’s mission is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic type sports for all children and adults with mental disabilities. For more information about Special Olympics, contact Susan Stegeman at 1-800-846-2682.