Diners can enjoy Toot’s chicken wings Tuesday, May 8 and donate to pay expenses for 30 Rutherford County student athletes competing in the state Special Olympics.
Toot’s will collect funds all day but Sheriff Robert Arnold and school resource officers will collect donations from diners from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Broad Street restaurant during the “Wings and Rings” fund-raiser. Donations will pay for the Tennessee Special Olympics May 18-19 at Vanderbilt University in Nashville .
School Resource Officer Dick Peach will entertain by singing Elvis tunes on request. Other SROs will join him in singing “Happy Birthday” to customers celebrating the special day at the restaurant.
“They definitely have good food and fun at Toot’s,” Peach said.
Co-chair Lou Paschall of Area 16 Special Olympics said the competition gives students with disabilities a chance to compete in athletic events.
Co-chair John Harris said Rutherford County students at the state games will compete in swimming, power lifting, track and field and bocce.
“Winning and losing is not the purpose of Special Olympics,” Harris said. “The purpose is to participate and be involved.”
Board member Mack Barnett said the Wings and Rings event gives athletes a chance to compete.
“You can see the joy on their faces,” Barnett said. “Winning is not everything. It’s the idea participants do something they enjoy doing. You can’t put a price on that.”
Paschall said “Wings and Rings” is a great opportunity for people who can’t be involved in Special Olympics to support the athletes financially. She suggested people might want to eat out that night for a “girls’ night out” or teachers and their families.
“We can’t say enough about Toot’s and their support financially,” Paschall said. “They get people out there.”
Toot’s owner Wade Hays said Special Olympics is a cause that fits within the restaurant’s wheelhouse of helping youth in the community.
“We feel this is a sponsorship that we can wrap our arms around, along with the sheriff’s SROs, to benefit our local Special Olympics organization,” Hays said. “We are very proud and honored to partner with the sheriff’s office in these great events. Even if you cannot dine with us on Tuesday, please take a minute and stop by Toot’s on Broad Street and make a donation to Special Olympics. Any amount is greatly appreciated.”
SRO Capt. Barry Hendrixson thanked Hays and the Toot’s staff for sponsoring Wings and Rings.
“The SRO Division would not be able to help as much if it were not for Toot’s and their dedication to Rutherford County ,” Hendrixson said. “SROs see these students on a daily basis and to be able to help them participate in the Special Olympics makes all the effort worthwhile.”