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Waterfight!

by CHARLES H. FEATHERSTONE
Staff Writer | September 27, 2022 1:25 AM

MOSES LAKE — Renae Stott and her 3-year-old son Emmett came a long way to squirt water at an Othello Police officer Friday.

“We wanted to see some police cars, get them wet,” she said as her son filled a large squirt gun. “We were hoping to see some fire trucks but we might have to come back later.”

Residents of Othello, the Stotts stood in the parking lot of the Staples on North Stratford Road in Moses Lake while OPD Officer Tyson Cox stood atop a lift, his uniform soaking wet. Emmett squealed with delight as he charged the lift, squirting Cox as Cox returned the favor.

“It’s for a good cause,” Cox said between squirt gun assaults. “It’s something that I’ve always had a passion to help out with.”

That good cause was Special Olympics Washington and its athletic programs. First responders from across the area, including the Adams County Sheriff’s Office, the Othello Police Department, the Washington State Patrol, Adams County Fire District 5 and the Moses Lake Police Department gathered over the course of the day beginning at 10:30 a.m. to get soaked in the “Fire & Cop on Top” fundraiser that allowed members of the public, for a donation, to fill long water cannons and take aim at the first responder atop the lift.

“We're taking donations just by the street or if they come in, they can buy a hot dog or they can donate to spray the officers,” said Steven Kinser, a recreation supervisor with the City of Moses Lake who helped organize the fundraiser. “And then we'll use this money locally to support our different athletic programs that we offer.”

The money will go toward programs in a material way, organizers said.

“It gets used for equipment, uniforms, for practice, anything they need. It goes directly to athletes,” said Ruth Ann Lunderville, a Special Olympics coach in Moses Lake.

Lunderville added that the fundraiser also has another purpose.

“This event is really good because it gives the athletes an opportunity to meet the officers so that they’re not scared of them during an emergency,” she said.

It wasn’t just toddlers filling up water cannons and going after the first responders. Becky Jones, a Special Olympian in Moses Lake who said she plays flag football, basketball and soccer in the Special Olympics, said she also would occasionally fill up a water cannon and take a shot at the officers.

“I really enjoy it,” Jones said.

Kinser said this is the first fundraiser of its kind in Moses Lake, though Special Olympics Washington held a similar fundraiser in Walla Walla in July and raised $12,000 for the organization’s sports programs.

“We’re hoping to replicate that,” Kinser said.

Later in the afternoon, MLPD Capt. Mike Williams and Sgt. Jeff Sursely stood atop the lift, in full gear, soaked and giving as good as they got. Special Olympians were trying to sneak around an MLPD SUV as it sat parked next to the lift, while Williams and Sursely filled their water cannons and took aim at the athletes. It was, Williams noted, a good test of whether or not their equipment, like their radios, was waterproof.

“We’re going to find out,” Williams said between volleys of water. “It’s advertised as such.”

According to Tim Toon, east region program manager for Special Olympics Washington, the organization is still raising money to help pay for its athletic programs. To donate, contact Toon at ttoon@sowa.org or call the Special Olympics directly at 206-681-9385.

Charles H. Featherstone can be reached at cfeatherstone@columbiabasinherald.com.

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CHARLES H. FEATHERSTONE/COLUMBIA BASIN HERALD

Moses Lake Police Department Capt. Mike Williams lets loose with both barrels during a Special Olympics fundraiser in Moses Lake on Friday.

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CHARLES H. FEATHERSTONE/COLUMBIA BASIN HERALD

Special Olympics athlete Becky Jones “opens fire” with a water cannon on Moses Lake Police Capt. Mike Williams during a fundraiser for Special Olympics Washington in Moses Lake on Friday.

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CHARLES H. FEATHERSTONE/COLUMBIA BASIN HERALD

A Moses Lake Fire Department firefighter refills a cooler with water to “re-arm” Special Olympians and others during the “Fire & Cop on Top” fundraiser in Moses Lake on Friday.

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CHARLES H. FEATHERSTONE/COLUMBIA BASIN HERALD

Othello Police Department officer Tyson Cox lets loose with three water cannons in an attempt to fend off an “attack” during the “Fire & Cop on Top” fundraiser in Moses Lake on Friday.

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