Tuesday, August 10, 2010

KCPD sergeant represents Missouri in Special Olympics run

A neat story from our Informant newsletter recognizes the dedication of one of our sergeants to the Special Olympics. Check out her story:

Sergeant Bernadette Bond’s Special Olympics journey started with a blind skier from St. Louis and culminated in her being the first KCPD member ever to represent the state on the way to the organization’s National Games.

About seven years ago, Sergeant Bond of the Robbery Unit volunteered to present medals to Special Olympics athletes who competed in winter sports at Snow Creek in Weston, Mo. That’s where she met the blind skier.

“She said, ‘I’m so glad to see you guys here,’ – to see us – because she said, ‘Law enforcement has done so much so I can do what I do,’” Sergeant Bond said.
From that moment on, Sergeant Bond was hooked. She now helps coordinate and participates in Special Olympics fund-raisers, sells merchandise and goes to as many sporting events as she can.

“Law enforcement, we’re the grassroots of the Special Olympics,” she said. “We raise the most money to help. … The athletes are so excited about us, too. ”
Sergeant Bond’s work did not go unnoticed. She was selected by Missouri Special Olympics to represent the state in the Final Leg of the Law Enforcement Torch Run. With officers and athletes from 47 other states, they made their way from Ames, Iowa, to the National Summer Games in Lincoln, Neb., on July 18, stopping at 70 towns along the way to tell everyone what Special Olympics meant to them. Sergeant Bond helped athletes run the Olympic torch all along the route.

“It’s kind of just obvious sometimes, with their spirit and contribution,” said Susan Stegeman of Sergeant Bond’s selection to represent Missouri in the Final Leg. Stegeman is the Chief Development Officer for Special Olympics Missouri. “It all game together, and it was Bernadette Bond.”

Sergeant Bond said the most meaningful part of the whole experience for her was getting to know Ronnie, a 36-year-old Special Olympian from Columbia, Mo., who rode with her to Ames and back. His mother died at a young age, and he’d grown up in group homes. He lives independently now, but he told Sergeant Bond the only people in his life who care about him were his coaches and friends from Special Olympics. He was very emotional about being selected as the athlete to represent Missouri in the Final Leg.

“He kept saying, ‘I can’t believe God has blessed me to be recognized here,’” Sergeant Bond said.

He spoke at several stops on the run, but he didn’t prepare a speech. Sergeant Bond said he spoke from his heart every time, and it was very moving. The Final Leg was the first time in his life Ronnie had left Missouri.

The officers and athletes ran – and sometimes rode in an RV – from town to town with the torch in the blazing heat from July 10-18. They spent the nights in college dormitories and got to know one another well.

“There was an emotional high,” Sergeant Bond said. “… I miss those guys.”
Sergeant Bond said she is now like a mother to Ronnie and is making him a scrapbook of their experience.

Sergeant Bond wasn’t the only KCPD officer to wish the athletes well as they went to the National Summer Games, which take place every four years. All of Missouri’s competitors stopped for lunch at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City and were escorted out of town by Kansas City Police officers. Special Olympics is the charity of choice for law enforcement nationwide.

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