MPs raise funds, awareness

| September 27, 2013 | 0 Comments
Pfc. Courtney Morrison (left), bike patrolman, and Sgt. Frank Poppa, bike patrol NCOIC, both with the 13th MP Det., 728th MP Bn., 8th MP Bde., 8th TSC, wave to the camera while standing atop a scaffold out front of the Waipahu Walmart, Sept.12, during the annual “Cop on Top” event.

Pfc. Courtney Morrison (left), bike patrolman, and Sgt. Frank Poppa, bike patrol NCOIC, both with the 13th MP Det., 728th MP Bn., 8th MP Bde., 8th TSC, wave to the camera while standing atop a scaffold out front of the Waipahu Walmart, Sept.12, during the annual “Cop on Top” event.

Story and photos by
Staff Sgt. Richard Sherba
8th Military Police Brigade Public Affairs
8th Theater Sustainment Command

WAIPAHU — If you had been one of the many shoppers at the Walmart, here, Sept. 12-14, then you may not have been alone in wondering what in the world those cops were doing up on top of that scaffolding with their megaphones, and their music, and why they were doing all those push-ups.

Well, if you had stopped to ask, you would have learned that they were simply raising awareness and funds for Special Olympics Hawaii via the 12th annual “Cop on Top” event.

Poppa does push-ups on a scaffold as Morrison counts out the number for a donator down below during the Cop on Top event in front of the Waipahu Walmart, Sept. 13.

Poppa does push-ups on a scaffold as Morrison counts out the number for a donator down below during the Cop on Top event in front of the Waipahu Walmart, Sept. 13.

“Cop on Top was started in Hawaii about 11 years ago,” said Antonio Williams, deputy chief of police, Directorate of Emergency Services, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii, and lead police officer at the Waipahu site.

“It started because one police officer stayed on top of the Waikiki Theater in the hopes of making $10,000, and he was intent on staying up there till he made it,” Williams continued. “Well, he accomplished that feat in Waikiki in only four hours, and that sparked an idea that has gone on in tradition for 11 years.”

Williams was not alone in raising awareness and funds for Special Olympics Hawaii over the weekend. Joining Williams were Pfc. Courtney Morrison, bike patrolman, and Sgt. Frank Poppa, bike patrol noncommissioned officer in charge, both with the 13th Military Police Detachment, 728th MP Battalion, 8th MP Brigade.

“The great thing about this partnership is you have law enforcement from all over the island, to include the armed forces,” Williams said. “Here, at the Waipahu site, it’s unique in nature because we have myself paired up with two military police officers.”

Morrison and Poppa climbed up and onto the scaffold at 5:30 a.m., Sept. 12, and didn’t come back down until a little after 3 p.m., Sept. 14.

During the 60-hour nonstop marathon, the two military policemen ate, slept and, most importantly, raised awareness for Special Olympics Hawaii.

What kept these two MPs going? How did they pull it off?

“Seeing all the athletes is what motivated me,” said Morrison. “You see the athletes, and you just stay motivated. Once you get past the numbness of fatigue, you don’t care.

“I loved hanging out with the athletes,” Morrison added. “They kept us on our toes and reminded us to do push-ups for the donations.”

Morrison (center, in hat), Sgt. Frank Poppa (center, kneeling) and Williams (right end) pose for a photo with Special Olympics Hawaii athletes and volunteers.

Morrison (center, in hat), Sgt. Frank Poppa (center, kneeling) and Williams (right end) pose for a photo with Special Olympics Hawaii athletes and volunteers.

Special Olympics athletes came out in force, as well, volunteering their time throughout the three-day Cop on Top event.

“I think Cop on Top is great! You know they take their time off and come out here and help. Everybody helps us, the police department and the MPs,” said Nicholas Pang, a 30-year-old Special Olympics athlete and winner of two gold medals in powerlifting while representing Team USA in Athens, Greece, in 2011.

Pang also spoke about what the importance of Special Olympics and his involvement in the program means to him.

“It’s just fun and great to be involved in sports and to have something to do,” said Pang, a Waipahu resident. “Meeting other athletes from different states is great, and it brings families together.”

As the event neared its end, Kyle Karioka, development manager, Special Olympics, expressed his gratitude for the volunteers.

“We cannot do (this program) without our volunteers, especially those volunteers in uniform,” Karioka said. “It means a lot to us to have this support, and without this support, we wouldn’t be able to make this program happen.”

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Category: Community, Community Relations

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