PORTSMOUTH — Shoppers at McKinnon’s Market were greeted by the sound of a megaphone and the sight of four police officers on the roof Sunday afternoon.
The five-hour “Cop on Top” fundraising effort garnered over $1,500, raised awareness for Special Olympics New Hampshire, and provided some laughter for Sunday shoppers.
Loretta Prescott of Special Olympics New Hampshire said the organization has a special relationship with law enforcement, culminating in the Law Enforcement Torch Run before each Summer Games and with law enforcement officers giving out medals after each event.
Prescott said in exchange for those positive moments, law enforcement members agree to participate in numerous fundraising events throughout the year, no matter how wild the idea.
“Cop on Top” was a new idea this year. Four local law enforcement officers — Newington Master Patrolman Seth Applebaum, Greenland Patrolman Mike Gobbi, Rye Sgt. Scott Blaisdell and Newington Patrolman James Hoyt — braved the blazing sun to wave at visitors and raise money for the organization.
Water, snacks and an EZ-Up canopy were provided for the officers’ safety on the hot day.
Behind the megaphone, Ray Jacques, regional district manager of Bozzuto’s, McKinnon’s grocery distributor, strongly encouraged every passerby to donate money, even using his booming voice to stop cars driving through the parking lot.
“They all volunteered to do this. I thought finding someone to stand on a roof when it’s 90 degrees out would be difficult, but it wasn’t,” said Ashley Lawson, development coordinator and law enforcement liaison with Special Olympics New Hampshire.
The parking lot in front of McKinnon’s was filled with vendors serving hot dogs, iced coffee and water, as well as athletes with Special Olympics New Hampshire eager to talk about how important the organization has been to them. Seacoast Harley Davidson was also on hand with some motorcycles on display.
The event is one of three planned on the Seacoast between now and August to raise awareness for the Dream Ride, an annual motorcycle ride and car cruise to Connecticut that benefits Special Olympics, with participants from as far north as Canada and as far south as Florida.
Del Buker coaches the Barrington Special Olympics team and traveled to Farmington, Conn., last year with team member Jayson Bruno to participate as guests in the ride.
It was so much fun they plan to go back this year and were on hand at McKinnon’s on Sunday to support the fundraising effort and raise awareness for the ride.
“It’s a fun way to do it, a fun way to raise money for Special Olympics,” Buker said. “And it’s nice law enforcement is giving their time for Special Olympics New Hampshire.”