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Tip-A-Cop, Torch Run hitting stride for Special Olympics teams

Don Coble
Posted 4/24/24

CLAY COUNTY – Clay County law enforcement will run, wipe tables and offer refills during the next two weeks to support the county’s Special Olympics Teams. The annual Tip a Cop will return to the …

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Tip-A-Cop, Torch Run hitting stride for Special Olympics teams


Posted

CLAY COUNTY – Clay County law enforcement will run, wipe tables and offer refills during the next two weeks to support the county’s Special Olympics Teams.

The annual Tip a Cop will return to the Texas Roadhouse Wednesday through Friday at 550 Blanding Boulevard in Orange Park. Officers from the Green Cove Springs, Clay County District Schools and Orange Park police departments will join the Clay County Sheriff’s Office and members of the Special Olympics team in seating, serving, refilling soft drinks, tea and water and line dancing with tips going to support the team’s trip this summer to the Florida State games at Walt Disney World.

CCSO Sgt. Zach Cox suggested hungry guests and supporters should call ahead for reservations at (904) 213-1000. Last year, customers exceeded expectations – and collection records – by stuffing $12,758.13 in donation coffers.

“It’s nice to know there are people out there with big hearts, giving hearts,” said Cox, who organizes Clay County’s Special Olympics team. “It’s humbling to know there are people out there who see the big picture.”

Texas Roadhouse will be open from 3-9:30 p.m. all three days.

Then, on Friday, May 3, agencies will converge at the Publix at Hibernia on U.S. Highway 17 on Fleming Island for the Law Enforcement Olympics Torch Run. The event was initially scheduled for March 22 but was postponed due to threatening weather.

Cox said this year’s route will include a new route.

The 2.3-mile run is designed to raise awareness for the Special Olympics team.

“I met with a lot of the other agencies, and they saw success in having more participation by making the run more of an event,” Cox said. “Rather than start and finish and everyone going home, we’re going to start at the Publix at Hibernia and finish at the Plantation Sports Complex. We’ll have some food trucks there. Students from the elementary school (Thunderbolt) and the Fleming Island band will be cheering. We have some special things planned.

“I know for sure we had one lockdown for lunch. And then Walmart also reached out and wanted to help this year, so they’re going to set up a table with some goodies. Yeah, it should be fun.”

Cox said that the field is technically limited to first responders, but others may be included. However, to join the run, they must contact Cox at (904) 213-6634 or zcox@claysheriff.com to be considered on “a case-by-case basis.”

However, unlike in previous years, the run is open to walkers and bike riders.

The run will start at 10 a.m. and cross U.S. 17 to the Black Creek Bike Trail to Village Square Parkway. The route will turn northwest onto Town Center Boulevard and left at Old Hard Road before turning left into the Plantation Sports Complex.

Cox said those interested in supporting the run should arrive at Plantation Sports Complex by 9:30 a.m. They will be shuttled to the starting line by the CCSO’s Explorers and Police Athletic League groups. They will return to the park to cheer on the finishers as they cross under the ceremonial U.S. American flag hoisted by a Clay County Fire Rescue ladder truck.