By Bob Weir | Photos by Annette Weir
Recently, the Flower Mound Police Department acted as servers at Texas Roadhouse in Flower Mound. The annual event called “Tip-A-Cop” is a fundraiser supporting Special Olympics Texas. This event is held in various restaurants across the Lone Star State, including right here in our town.
During the event, officers performed the duties of waitstaff, collecting tips and other donations to support this worthy cause. “Tip-A-Cop” is a national campaign, and events like this provide awareness and support for children and adults with disabilities. All donations go to sports training and athletic competitions for Special Olympics Texas. My wife, Annette, and I attended the large gathering that included residents from several contiguous towns and cities.
We’re blessed indeed to be living in an area patrolled by well-trained police personnel that provide a sense of security for every resident. Those feelings were displayed during the event as diners posed for photos with the officers and tipped generously for the cause. During the evening, as menus were perused and dinner choices were made, one diner jokingly pointed out that it was one of those rare occasions where citizens get a chance to give orders to cops.
Special Olympics is the world’s largest sports organization for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. It provides year-round training and activities to 5 million participants and unified sports partners in 172 countries. Special Olympics competitions are held worldwide, including local, national, and regional competitions, adding up to more than 100,000 events a year.
Special Olympics Texas is divided into four regions with 19 area offices. Athletes may begin training as early as six but must be eight years old to compete. Athletes must be 12 years old to attend statewide competitions. Thanks to the Young Athletes Program (YAP), which launched in 2005, children ages two through seven can participate as an “Athlete in Training” in areas where the program is available.
Volunteer coaches, who are required to complete a certification program and attend seasonal training schools, are responsible for training the athletes. Competition officials and event directors are also required to attend training schools. Special Olympics Texas is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization supported by private donations from individuals, corporations, and organizations throughout the state.
For more info on Special Olympics Texas, visit: sotx.org.