The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Dodging for a good cause

Anthony Vazquez
Johnson County team members grab the dodge-balls off the line at the beginning of the match, area police departments came together to support the 1st Annual Special Olympics Iowa Dodgeball Tournament, at Grant Wood Elementary School in Iowa City, Iowa on Nov. 8.(The Daily Iowan/Anthony Vazquez)

By Tom Ackerman  |  [email protected]

Local police brought a crowd together for a good cause — and had a good time while doing it.

Police departments throughout Johnson County hosted a dodge-ball tournament at Wood Elementary School in Iowa City to raise money for Iowa’s Special Olympics on Sunday.

“We’re all standing united in our support of Special Olympics, so everyone has representation here today,” Mebus said.

The event is new this year and is motivated by the decline in the annual torch run, he said, which is a nationwide law-enforcement run to fund Special Olympics.

“There have been a couple of these tournaments in the state of Iowa that have helped Special Olympics, so we decided that we’d try to have one in the metro area,” said Iowa City police Officer R.A. Mebus, an organizer of the event.

The games started at 10 a.m., and organizers required each team to raise $200 for the cause. The event was stocked with lively music and smiles along with a range of ages and two courts available to play for the tournament.

Donating to the cause has become synonymous with law-enforcement agencies since Mebus can remember, and he is a 24-year veteran to the department and now a crime-prevention officer.

“That’s what we do. It’s our philanthropy,” he said.

Officers from North Liberty, Iowa City, the University of Iowa, Coralville, and the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office were present.

“It means a lot,” said Andy Jennings, an officer from North Liberty. “Everyone here is on their days off to raise money, and it’s going to a very good foundation for the Special Olympics.”

The 15 teams present at the event brought $3,000 to Iowa’s Special Olympics.

Mebus hopes to continue hosting the tournament for years to come and said the turnout was better than expected.

“We get a bunch of people together to have a good time, and it’s for a great cause,” said Ashley Hayes, an Iowa City officer who waited with her team to compete.

Others, such as resident Jennifer Lowe of North Liberty, who signed up, aren’t affiliated a police department but wanted to support the cause and have fun on a day off.

“I don’t think we do enough of this,” she said. “It’s a great event to get out and be active, but also give back to the Special Olympics.”

Lowe participated with friends and family and said she would absolutely do it again.

“I hope we can [continue it] because it’s not just Iowa City police,” Mebus said. “We’re being supported by all the police departments in the county.”

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