Wilton Police are dedicated participants in fundraising efforts on behalf of the Special Olympics, annually running and carrying the torch in the Torch Run, serving dinners at Wilton restaurants to donate tips, and even overcoming the fear of heights to rappel down multi-story buildings, all to support the cause.
Now, two of Wilton’s finest will go to an even higher extreme to fundraise for Special Olympics, in February, when Wilton Police Lieutenants David Hartman and Robert Kluk join a team of law enforcement officers from across Connecticut to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa to raise awareness about Special Olympics CT and its athletes.
Wilton High School students are fundraising to help them through a t-shirt fundraiser. They’re selling “Conquering Kili” t-shirts online and in return Hartman and Kluk will bring along a Wilton Warrior banner to unfurl as they hike up Africa’s tallest peak. The officers will take a picture with the WHS banner, and the more funds that are raised, the higher the elevation at which they’ll take the photo.
The support from WHS students and the town is meaningful for Hartman.
“This is a special community. I grew up here in Wilton, I graduated from Wilton High myself,” he says. “I’ve been in town for over 30 years. I love this town, and they’ve been extremely supportive.”
What’s more, he explains, 100% of the donations go to Special Olympics, and not to fund the climb. That is coming out of the officers’ pockets–they’re self-funding all the equipment and expenses.
Located in Tanzania and standing at 19,341 ft., “Kili” is a challenging climb–one the officers have been training for over the last year. According to Kluk, completing this mission would be an honor.
“I have been with the Wilton Police Department for 20 years. During my entire time, I have been involved in fundraising and volunteering at events to raise awareness for Special Olympics Connecticut. For me, there is no greater incentive than to see the athletes overcome their disabilities, through their hard work and competing in the sports that they love,” Kluk says about what motivates him to “Conquer Kili.”
T-shirts can be purchased online. To learn more about the officers’ efforts and donate directly to their effort, visit their individual pages (Hartman or Kluk). The team page for all the officers also links to donation opportunities.