Cops at your service
August 11, 2006
By Amy Lavalley/Post-Tribune correspondent
Jason Ferguson, a patrol officer with the Porter County
Sheriff’s Department, admitted his wife gave him a few
pointers on how to wait tables.
The closest he’d ever come was working behind the
counter at a fast-food restaurant in high school.
He and the seven other members of the department were
helping out at Kelsey’s Steakhouse on Thursday evening
by donating tips to the Special Olympics of Porter
None of the officers handled heavy trays of food.
“We’d probably all drop them,” he said.
This is the first time Tip a Cop, as the program is
called, was used in the region to benefit the Special
Olympics of Porter County, though it has raised money in
other parts of the state, said David Lain, chief of
police and one of the fund-raiser’s organizers.
Lain’s friend is state coordinator for the Special
Olympics and Lain heard about the group through him.
Kelsey’s was a natural site to support the fund-raiser
because of its support of Opportunity Enterprises and
its history of support for the Special Olympics.
“This is obviously one of the most popular places in
Valparaiso,” Lain said, looking around the restaurant,
which had just about reached its 300-diner capacity.
He didn’t know how much money the event might raise, and
just wanted both diners and officers to have a good
The officers were there to provide “whatever the staff
needs, with the understanding we’re probably going to
spill something on someone before the night is over,”
More than 550 athletes participate in sports year-round
through the program, said Lorrie Woycik, coordinator for
the Special Olympics of Porter County and outreach
director for the region.
The organization relies solely on donations, Woycik
said, adding that regardless of how much money the event
raised it would increase community awareness about the
Ken Blaney, who owns the restaurant with his father, Ken
Blaney Sr., said Lain approached him about hosting Tip a
Cop. The family thought it would be a good way to
further support Special Olympics, especially since the
restaurant is the site of an annual banquet for Porter
They were all mindful of the fact that the officers
might not be experienced waiters.
“We didn’t want to inconvenience the customers in any
way,” Blaney said, adding the deputies were assisting
the wait staff. “We thought it would be smoother if we
kept it simple.”