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Ellensburg Police Department Capt. Dan Hansberry camped out on the roof of Fred Meyer on Thursday for a good cause — Washington’s Special Olympic teams.

Hansberry climbed on to the roof on Thursday and was planning to stay until noon today with support from Fred Meyer and the Ellensburg Special Olympics Swim Team. EPD has been putting on the Cop on Top event for five years to help Special Olympics.

The event included a barbecue on Thursday, a $1 raffle for a $200 Fred Meyer gift card and a check presentation. Members of the Ellensburg Special Olympics swim team were also present.

Mandy Newman, human resources manager for Ellensburg’s Fred Meyer, said the event was a lot of fun. Shoppers could donate at cash registers inside, and Fred Meyer employees presented a check for $1,500 to the Washington Special Olympics organization.

The event is one of the biggest that Fred Meyer supports all year, she said. “It’s just gotten bigger and bigger each year,” she said.

Fred Meyer manager Chantel Kabel said these types of community events are her favorite part of working at Fred Meyer.

“If you’re not helping your community, you’re not a part of your community,” Kabel said.

Swim team

Rusty Allphin, a member of the Ellensburg Special Olympic Swim Team, said his favorite race is the backstroke.

“Last year Rusty was in a life jacket. Now he’s on a relay team,” swim team coach Amy Mohler said.

Darren Owens, a member of the swim team, came wearing his bronze, silver and gold medals. Owens has won medals in the 300 freestyle, the four by 25 meter relay and the 4x50 meter relay, and has been swimming for the Special Olympics for 34 years.

“Swimming keeps me healthy,” Owens said. “I get to hang out with my whole Special Olympics gang.”

Owens said most of his friend are on the Special Olympics swim team. The team has about 24 members.

Good response

Marla Bieker of Ellensburg was with her son at the event and bought a raffle ticket.

“We were just shopping and I know it’s a good cause,” she said. “Special Olympics are a great event.”

Hansberry let down a fishing rod with a goody bag attached from the roof and Bieker’s son ran up and grabbed it.


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