About 30 Special Olympians from Rutherford County will compete in the state games, thanks to about $2,200 in donations from Toot’s and Toot’s customers at the Broad Street restaurant.
The restaurant and customers combined to donate to the Special Olympians during the Wings and Rings fund-raiser where Sheriff Robert Arnold and school resource officers collected funds for athletes with intellectual disabilities. Led by SRO Dick Peach, the SROs sang “Happy Birthday” to customers celebrating their special day.
Special Olympics co-chair John Harris said the donations allow the athletes to compete without pa Toot’s owner Wade Hays and his staff for the welcome environment,” Harris said. “I want to thank all the citizens of Rutherford County and the surrounding counties for coming out and giving.”
Co-chair Lou Paschall said the Wings and Rings events at Toot’s on Broad Street , Church Street and in Smyrna raised more than $6,000 for Special Olympics. The funds are used for some 600 athletes to compete in bowling, track and field and the state games.
“The neat thing is that everyone is involved,” Paschall said. “We live in a really great community who is supportive of Special Olympics athletes.”
Sheriff Arnold said Wings and Rings was a great fund-raiser to support the Special Olympics athletes.
“Our SROs volunteered their time and efforts to a worthwhile cause,” Arnold said.
General Manager Justin Gilreath of Toot’s on Broad said Toot’s has supported the community since it opened 27 years ago.
“We are happy to help anyone we can,” Gilreath said. “Tuesdays are slower than other nights and this brought a lot of people in.”
Gilreath and Billy McCrary, Toot’s director of operations, gave a $750 donation to Special Olympics.
“We’re giving back to our community,” McCrary said.
Harris said the largest competition for Special Olympians is the track and field meet each April at MTSU where about 350 athletes compete. MTSU, the Rutherford County and Murfreesboro schools and corporations provide volunteers.
“It’s one day when the community comes together,” Harris said.