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Cops at the donut shop help Special Olympics
Todd Keil and Boll Wright of the Bloomington Police department are sitting on the roof of the Dunkin Donuts on East Oakland as they raise money for Special Olympics. (Pantagraph, Bob Holiday)

BLOOMINGTON - The concept of a cop atop the roof of a doughnut shop was fine with Bloomington officer Todd Keil.

"It works well as a marketing tool," Keil said. "If you can't have a sense of humor, it would be miserable."

Keil and fellow officer Bill Wright got the last laugh Wednesday, raising $8,500 for Special Olympics Illinois. Their goal was $6,700.

It took a bit of sweat.

They started at 6 a.m. and before noon, the temperature approached 90 degrees. But they wouldn't leave the roof of Dunkin' Donuts/Baskin-Robbins, 2306 E. Oakland Ave., until 6 p.m.

At mid-morning, Keil, dressed in short pants, T-shirt and athletic shoes, wiped perspiration from his brow and yelled down to donors. "Thanks, ladies," he called.

He took a sip of iced latte. "That hit the spot. Thank God there's a breeze," Keil said.

Keil was on the roof "for the kids" of Special Olympics Illinois, whose annual games get under way Friday in Normal.

Ditto for Wright.

"I know that sometimes law enforcement takes a hit. This is a good way to show us in a positive light," Wright said.

Both said the biggest challenge of 12 hours in the sun was staying hydrated. Keil, who had done this before, spoke from experience: "Energy feels like it's drained out of you."

Their rooftop perch had easy chairs and a live broadcast from radio station B104, but the two officers spent most of the morning leaning over the roof talking to donors and volunteers on the ground.

Among the donors was Russ Waring of Bloomington. "I believe in kids. Special Olympics is for special kids," he said.

While the cause was serious, Keil and Wright had a few lighter moments, including water guns to cool off each other.

Other officers from across the state will be running, not sunning, Friday during the final leg of the Law Enforcement Torch Run that begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Chateau in Bloomington. The run leads to Illinois State University, where the three-day games will be held.

Michele Henson, director of communications and publications for Normal-based Special Olympics Illinois, expects 3,600 athletes with intellectual disabilities from across the state to compete.

GO!

What: Special Olympics Illinois

When: Opening ceremonies, 8 p.m. Friday; competition, noon to 6 p.m. Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 7:30 a.m. to noon Sunday.

Where: Horton Complex and Hancock Stadium, Illinois State University; Stroud Auditorium, University High School.

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