It might not make sense for customers to flock to a crowded restaurant where they have to wait 30 minutes to get inexperienced servers.
Then again, maybe it does. These servers are off-duty police officers raising money for local Special Olympic athletes.
Police from Millersville University and other local departments came together on June 15 to wait tables at a fundraiser night held at the Roseville Tavern to raise money and awareness for the Lancaster County Special Olympics. Members of local police departments have been involved in this event for 20 years, held to offset costs for athletes traveling to the annual Special Olympics Pennsylvania Summer Games.
“We get an awesome crowd. Even folks who are not aware of the fundraiser are always kind and supportive. Everyone gets a smile out of a cop juggling a tray with food and struggling to get an order right,” says Millersville University Department Chief of Police Peter Anders. “I do tell guests at my tables I promise some of the best deck food in Lancaster and hopefully the worst service they have all year. It kicks off our meeting with a bit of humor.”
Chief Anders has been involved in the program since its conception, after a conversation with then Special Olympics Director Bob Lopez and Trooper Jerry Sauers. Anders has helped organize the event and wait tables for 18 of the past 20 years.
The Special Olympics Pennsylvania Summer Games take place annually at Penn State University (PSU). These statewide games allow Special Olympians to showcase their training and dedication through intense competition in various athletics events including aquatics, basketball, bowling, equestrian, golf, gymnastics, softball and tennis.
While PSU generously hosts the event, the expense of travel and food can still make it difficult for these hardworking athletes to attend. Enter Millersville University police.
Thanks to the efforts of local state, city and University police last year, these athletes were able to represent Lancaster County in the 2016 Special Olympics Pennsylvania Summer Games, held June 2 through June 4. By serving tables, providing musical entertainment and mingling with community members, MU Police and others raised $3,771 to be used for the 2017 games.
“The night is always rewarding, despite normally being a scorcher of a night. We have survived high heat and humidity and passing storms. What stands out for me are the special Olympians. It sounds corny, but I smile driving home because I always receive special hugs and high fives from children and adult Olympians who like being around us and at the event,” says Chief Anders.
Anders was one of a group of law enforcement volunteers at the fundraising event with ties to MU. The University’s newest police officer and “Rookie Waiter of the Year”, Joe David, served the most tables. ‘Ville alumni Todd Umstead (Lancaster City Police Lieutenant) was the musician on the Roseville Tavern deck, raising $180 in tips. Brian Wiczkowski (West Lampeter Chief of Police) and Will Smith (Lancaster Police Detective) also represented MU at the event.
These charitable efforts to raise money and awareness for the Lancaster County Special Olympics reveal the genuine care that members of the Millersville University Police Department have for young adults, both those enrolled at MU and those in the local community.