LUMBERTON — A patrol car parked in front of a business usually spells trouble, but the Lumberton police cruiser posted up in front of CiCi’s Pizza on Thursday signaled quite the opposite.
Capt. Steve Hardin and Patrol Officer Cedrique Bridges were at the Lumberton restaurant to collect donations for the North Carolina Special Olympics as part of a statewide event called Cover the Cruiser. For each dollar a guest contributed, they received a placard to sign and paste to the vehicle.
By the time the event wrapped up at 7 p.m., more than $200 had been raised and the car was half-coated in placards.
“I’m ecstatic about the way things turned out,” Hardin said. “A lot of people went beyond and gave $5 or $10.”
The event was part of Law Enforcement Torch Run, a summer-long initiative designed to raise money for the Special Olympics. Police departments across the state participate in the Torch Run.
“I decided I wanted to do this because I have two healthy grandchildren,” Hardin said. “I can’t imagine all of the hardships and struggles that parents of special needs children must go through.”
Founded in 1968, the Special Olympics is the largest athletic organization for children with intellectual disabilities. The North Carolina leg of the nonprofit held its first games in 1970, and has since grown into one of the nation’s largest Special Olympics programs.
“This is a chance for us to give back,” said Bridges, who has three children. “Kids are No. 1 in my life and anything I can do to help, I’m more than willing.”
On Aug. 31, the Lumberton Police Department will hold a bike run to benefit the North Carolina Special Olympics. Admission is $10 for individual riders and $15 for doubles. Registration will be held from 1 until 2 p.m. at the C&P Minimart in Pembroke, and the ride will end at Lumberton High School. For information, call Hardin at 910-740-9034, or Bridges at 910-813-8676.