DPS Officers Cheer on Special Olympics Athletes
After presenting medals to the winners of the Special Olympics Missouri's bowling contest, members of Saint Louis University's Department of Public Safety (DPS) weren't finished celebrating the successes of all of the assembled student-athletes.
As the last athlete received a medal, the officers, who had acted as the contest's honorary presenters, cheered, led the crowd in clapping and high-fived every child and more than a few adults who were gathered at the Moolah Lanes.
Handing awards at the bowling contest is just one of the ways that SLU's officers, and Chief Jim Moran, nurture a longtime relationship with the Special Olympics, its families and athletes.
"SLU's DPS, and law enforcement officers all around the state are such instrumental fundraisers and supporters of Special Olympics Missouri," Jocelyn Diehl, regional program director for Special Olympics Missouri said. "We love when officers are able to help award medals at competitions so that they can put faces and names to those athletes for whom they are working so hard. This is a powerful way to connect these two groups."
Plunges, Runs and Barbecues to Support Athletes
In February 2018, SLU's DPS officers did their best impressions of Kali, the St. Louis Zoo's famous polar bear, as part of the Special Olympics' Law Enforcement Torch Run, plunging into freezing waters in Creve Coeur Lake.
The plunge, led by Moran and including DPS officers Henry Owens, Steve Roy, Johsiey Litherland, Sheila Hatcher, Sean Polley, Zachary Bernard and Timothy Allen, raised $1,415 for the Special Olympics and contributed hours to the University's bicentennial service challenge.
In addition to plunges and runs, DPS has organized car washes and barbecue cook outs on SLU's campus to raise funds for the organization and other charities.
Officers and their families have also volunteered at Special Olympics events, as coaches, assistants and in other roles.
Moran was recently honored by the Saint Louis Bar Foundation, the philanthropic arm of The Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis, with a Spirit of Justice Award, for his professional leadership and his community work, including with groups like the Special Olympics.
At the October bowling competition, DPS officers including Mike Otten, Josh Johnson, Max Otten, Hatcher and Sgt. Ed Agnew cheered on more than 110 Special Olympics bowlers over three days, offering encouragement and working with Special Olympics staff members to honor the highest scorer bowlers.
Saint Louis University is a Catholic, Jesuit institution that values academic excellence, life-changing research, compassionate health care, and a strong commitment to faith and service. Founded in 1818, the University fosters the intellectual and character development of more than 13,000 students on campuses in St. Louis and Madrid, Spain. Building on a legacy of now more than 200 years, Saint Louis University continues to move forward with an unwavering commitment to a higher purpose, a greater good.
Story and photos by Amelia Flood, University Marketing and Communications