Local law enforcement banded together Thursday morning for the 2nd annual Cop on a Rooftop event held at 71 Dunkin' Donuts chains throughout Southern California to raise funds for the Special Olympics.
Guests who stopped by that morning had the opportunity to donate to the Special Olympics and receive a coupon for a free medium hot or iced drink.
Four Olympians from Tehachapi joined the officers from 6 to 10 a.m. at the Tehachapi franchise of the doughnut shop on Tucker Road.
Olympian Ben Kitt and his mother, Laurie, helped draw passing cars to the fundraiser. Ben participates in the tennis, golf and bowling competitions of the Special Olympics.
"It's all volunteers, and that's really special because so many people put in their own time to help with the Special Olympics," said Laurie Kitt.
Other local Olympians to participate in the fundraiser were Patrick Mitchell and his wife, Tanya, and Tanya's brother, Michael Santos. All three Olympians have won multiple medals including gold, silver and bronze in bowling.
"When you participate in Special Olympics, other than receiving the medals and feeling like you are part of a family, you compete with all the different sporting events that they have," said Patrick Mitchell. "No matter how good you are, they make you feel welcomed. The Special Olympics has been around for 50 years, and it's a great organization. If it wasn't for them, people like the athletes with disabilities, they wouldn't have any activities or events to go to."
Tanya said her bowling average, on a good day, is 130. Her husband's is 160 and brother's is about 150.
"Sometimes, we don't get the gold, but as long as we do our best, that's what matters," said Tanya.
Participating in this year's fundraiser were officers from the Kern County Sheriff's Office, California Highway Patrol, Tehachapi Police Department and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
"We had a great turnout of the local community stopping by and donating," said Tehachapi Police Officer Wayne Horning. "This is something that we look forward to every year, coming out here with our local law enforcement agencies and coming together in support of the cause."
Public Information Officer Aaron Maurer of the California Highway Patrol said he and the other officers feel it is important to support organizations such as the Special Olympics.
"It's an incredible organization. They help fundraise and get the athletes out to the events and make it affordable for them," Maurer said.
So where do the local donations go?
"The money stays right here in Kern County Special Olympics," said Lt. Sharman Parker of the California City Correctional Facility.
Those who were unable to attend can still donate online at sosc.org/coponarooftop.