By Dan Campana
Sunday’s visit to Springfield by exotic car enthusiasts participating in the Ultimate Road Rally gave a boost to the Illinois State Police Heritage Foundation and its efforts to make the Illinois State Police Memorial Park a reality.
Ultimate Road Rally recently began its relationship with the foundation, which has been driving the efforts to construct a memorial for fallen state troopers across the street from Illinois State Police headquarters in the state capital. Construction of the memorial is underway with completion expected in the fall.
“We did this weekend for a few reasons. One, to have fun with all our friends; Two, for a really good cause,” URR Founder Omar Salaymeh said in a video posted on Ultimate Road Rally’s Facebook page during which he announced the rally raised approximately $75,000.
That amount grew when the weekend’s rally winners donated their $10,000 winnings to the foundation to push the total amount collected to $85,000.
ISP Merit Board Director Jack Garcia, who serves as chairman of the memorial park project, praised the effort of Salaymeh and URR for putting together a successful event.
“Everything has been going terrific. The weather has cooperated as well,” Garcia said in the video.
Garcia and URR participants cruised through Springfield before reaching their final destination on Second Street steps from the Illinois State Capitol building. The collection of high-end cars sat on display for the public to check out, while team members posed for a picture in front of the nearby Abraham Lincoln statue. Governor Bruce Rauner also took time to meet with participants.
Based in West Chicago, URR began its charitable work in 2010. A typical, invitation-only, rally involves 30 exotic cars divided into six teams who travel to multiple locations completing challenges and missions along the way. URR past endeavors including raising $100,000 for Cal’s Angels, a local pediatric cancer charity.
Garcia said URR has distinguished itself using a unique approach to helping charitable causes.
The memorial park, which is located at Sixth and Lawrence streets, aims to become a focal point of the annual Illinois Police Officers Memorial ceremonies each May, as well as a home for the families of those officers to gather and reflect, Garcia told TTN last year.
(Photo courtesy of Ultimate Road Rally)