In an ongoing effort to raise funds for Special Olympics Washington, the Sunnyside Police Department is hosting "Guns & Hoses" softball games, pitting county law enforcement personnel and fire employees against each other.
According to Charlotte Hinderlider, the Sunnyside Police Department's Law Enforcement Torch Run Agency Coordinator, each team will get incentives based on the amount of funds they raise for Special Olympics Washington.
If a team raises $250, the team it plays against has to bat opposite handed for the inning of its choice. If a team raises $500, the other team will lose a position player for an inning, but it can't be a pitcher or catcher. And, if a team raises $1,000, the other team will have to run bases backwards for an inning, as well as the other two incentives.
So far, says Hinderlider, local police have raised $2,281.50 towards their $7,500 goal by doing a spaghetti feed, Polar Bear Plunge, Karaoke for a Cause and a Motorcycle Poker Run.
"Most people don't realize what an amazing program Special Olympics is unless they have had a friend there or family who is an athlete, coach or volunteer," says Hinderlider.
"Special Olympics affords opportunities to people to compete as a team or as an individual in a capacity that they may not be able to compete in otherwise."
When asked if the plan was to have a monthly fundraiser, Hinderlider said, "We have a couple other fundraisers in the works, we aren't necessarily shooting for monthly fundraisers, though that would be nice. My focus is just to find an activity that suits everyone."
Currently, she's trying to find a Sunnyside restaurant willing to host a Tip a Cop night, where an officer buses tables for donations. Sunnyside police will also participate in Yakima County's truck pull in September.
The ever-planning Hinderlider is also aiming for a bowling tournament this summer.
For the softball game, each team must be comprised of a minimum of 15 players and cost to register is $15 per player, which includes a t-shirt and lunch. Up to three games will be played.
The games take place on Saturday, June 2, at 10 a.m. at Lincoln School Softball Complex, but team registration is due by May 24. Individuals interested in playing on a team are not required to put together a team and, in fact, can contact Hinderlider for team placement.
So what's the point behind the exhaustive efforts of local police to raise $7,500?
"I look at it from the perspective that I am fortunate my son doesn't need Special Olympics programs," says Hinderlider. "But if he did, I would want the same wonderful volunteers, fundraisers, coaches, athletes, etc. that are currently working with and for Special Olympics.
"Heroes helping heroes, that is what the Law Enforcement Torch Run Special Olympics Campaign is really all about!"