Great turnout & success for Special Olympics fundraiser
ELBURN—Sunday marked the seventh annual Pulling for Special Olympics event, held at the St. Charles Sportsmen’s Club in Elburn. The event year after year continues to grow and includes more people who are passionate about raising funds for Special Olympics participants.
The funds that are raised at the event are allocated for the participation fees for people who want to participate in the Special Olympics. Over 350 people attended the event on Sunday for an afternoon of clay pigeon and trap shooting.
Colleen MacRunnels, one of the main organizers of the event, commented on the importance of the fundraiser.
“The money we raise pays the participation for people in the Special Olympics,” she said. “We also have all-in participants today who pay $500 to shoot. It warms my heart.”
The Maple Park Police are supporters of the event, and many of the officers, including Chief Mike Acosta, were in attendance. Maple Park Police Officer Ray Radis was there to help out, as well.
“I’ll do anything to help,” Radis said. “It’s great for the kids, and it’s a wonderful to do.”
Acosta has been participating in Pulling for the Special Olympics since he started working in Maple Park.
“This is a great event, and it teaches people how to use a gun safely,” Acosta said. “It also raises a lot of money. We would like to be the highest-raising group in the state of Illinois this year.”
This year, organizers added a special twist and invited disabled veterans out to the event at no charge. Janet and Charlie Johnson from the Vaughan Paralyzed Veterans of America appeared at the event to show their support.
“This is a great opportunity for veterans to assimilate back into civilian life and use guns for recreational purposes,” Janet said. “They can feel good about being at this event that’s for a good cause without being the spotlight.”
There was also a raffle and a silent auction run by Jim MacRunnels.
“Our sponsors donated all kinds of guns, equipment for the guns and for camping,” Jim said. “There are also bigger items, too.”
Jim later said that over $45,000 was raised during the afternoon.
A couple of outdoor games and activities were also set up for people to enjoy during the event. Stacy Reever and her daughter, Kassidy, volunteered for the day and were helping out with a couple of activities.
“I have been helping to fundraise for the Special Olympics for 10 years, and my daughter Kassidy has volunteered with me,” Stacy said. “Kassidy started a Special Olympics club by us when there wasn’t one.”
Terry Monnett, a supporter of the event, became involved in helping raise funds for the Special Olympics because of the MacRunnels’ interest in the cause.
“The president of the gun club at the time was very supportive of raising funds for the Special Olympics when we approached him, and the club has been a great help ever since,” Monnett said. “This is one of the most unique events, and I’ve heard of other people in different areas wanting to create an event like this one after they hear about it.”