State troopers and The Preserve team up for Special Olympics fundraiser

South County

RICHMOND, R.I. (WPRI) — So many fundraisers have had to be canceled or held virtually due to the pandemic, which has been detrimental to organizations like the Special Olympics of Rhode Island.

“We just got our athletes back out onto the playing field after a long hiatus, so right now we’re offering a few sports. It’s been tough. We’re looking at a $500,000 deficit over the year,” said Tracy Garabedian, Dir. of Development for Special Olympics Rhode Island.

That’s why events like Sunday’s clay shooting fundraiser held by the Rhode Island State Troopers Association has been more important than ever. For the first time, the event was held at the Preserve in Richmond and organizers say it was the most successful one yet.

Rhode Island State Police Col. James Manni has been the driving force behind the annual event.

“It’s the only one like its type anywhere in the country. And over the past 16 years we’ve raised tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars for that very special cause,” he said.

The event was sold out with 150 participants — each paying $110 to play. From 19 stations, they pulled targets — a morning of fun so hundreds of athletes who are part of the Special Olympics Rhode Island can have fun participating in the sports they love.

The chairman of the Preserve has always been involved in the event and donated the facility for the cause this year.

“From young children to adults, any skillset can come and enjoy it,” Paul Mihailides said.

It’s estimated in total — Sunday’s event raised more than $20,000. You can learn more about Special Olympics Rhode Island, including how to donate, on their website.

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