WAILUKU - Setting up at a new location on the roof of Walmart in Kahului, Maui police officers helped raise more than $10,000 for Special Olympics in Maui County during the weekend Cop on Top fundraiser.
"It's wonderful the community came out and gave that much support, and we were able to raise that much money," said officer Nick Krau, who spent two days and 11 hours on the roof before the fundraiser ended at 5 p.m. Sunday. "It was very impressive, it was huge.
"I'm definitely very proud of the people of Maui County for coming out and giving what they could in hard times."
Maui police officers Nick Krau (second from left) and James Terry pose with Special Olympics athletes Aaron Kemp (left), Aimee Bellard (center) and Kingston Pariesa at Walmart in Kahului. Krau and Terry were on the roof of Walmart for the annual Cop on Top fundraiser, which raised more than $10,000 for Special Olympics in Maui County.
Krau, who has participated in the fundraiser since its start eight years ago on Maui, was joined Friday evening by officer James Terry, who was on the roof for the first time.
Vendors selling hot dogs and kettle corn, along with Paradise Tropical Ice and Local Banana, set up outside the store, donating $1 from each sale to Special Olympics.
"There was a lot of traffic," said Adrienne Laurion, regional director for Special Olympics in Maui County. "We had a lot of generous people."
At least $10,400 was raised over the weekend, with money donated in coins yet to be counted, she said. The money will be split among Special Olympics programs on Maui, Molokai and Lanai.
With the Special Olympics bowling program starting today, some of the money will cover fees for 60 bowlers for the season that runs through December, Laurion said.
During past Cop On Top fundraisers held at Safeway stores, officers had been positioned on rooftops at three locations on Maui.
With just one location this year, organizers had set a fundraising goal of $15,000.
"But we're pretty happy that we at least raised over $10,000 in this economy," Laurion said.
She said Walmart suggested including the vendors in the fundraiser. "They just supported us 100 percent," she said. "It was a really good welcome."
Before the event began, officer Kaena Brown helped promote the event through radio interviews and public service announcements and showed up to help during the weekend.
Terry, who works as a school resource officer at Maui High School, joined his friend Krau after returning to Maui from an assignment on Oahu. Terry has helped with other Special Olympics fundraisers in the past.
Krau, who works as a training officer in the Plans, Training and Research Section, said the recruits in his class turned out to show their support during the fundraiser.
Krau spent part of the time in a kid-sized inflatable pool to try to cool off in the heat and was on the roof Sunday, his 11th anniversary as a police officer.
In the past, Krau has helped coach soccer, T-ball and softball for Special Olympics.
"It does a lot for me to be involved in Special Olympics," he said.
Laurion said anyone interested in having someone with special needs participate in Special Olympics Maui's basketball and bowling programs may call 281-7318. People interested in volunteering to help coach the programs also may call.
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at email@example.com.