Community Involvement

CMF helps broaden Special Olympics reach

Man explains a fundraiser to two diners at Chili's restaurant while three Special Olympics athletes nearby.
Correctional Administrator Christopher Tileston explains Tip-A-Cop to a couple of diners at Chili's restaurant.

The Special Olympics organization holds special meaning for Christopher Tileston, a correctional administrator at California Medical Facility (CMF). It’s why he puts in extra effort to hold fundraising events in the greater Sacramento area.

After a long CMF work day, Tileston drove from Vacaville to Chili’s restaurant in Roseville for a Tip-A-Cop Special Olympics fundraiser. It was the second such event for Tileston in April.

Helping the athletes is personal for CMF administrator

Young man holds open the door to a restaurant.
Rocky Robello greets customers at the door of Chili’s restaurant in Roseville during Tip-a-Cop fundraiser.

“I’ve been doing this since 2013,” he said while he also answered questions from Special Olympics athletes. “I enjoy it because my wife had a sister who was an athlete. She’s since passed away. Also, I have a son with disabilities. He didn’t get into Special Olympics. But, this is a great organization because it offers programs to those who might find themselves in this situation.”

Tileston said since CDCR is a statewide organization, it makes sense to work together to benefit the athletes.

“Since we’re statewide, many employees don’t live near the institution. So I handle the Sacramento and Roseville area events,” he explained, saying he resides in the Sacramento region. “Our sister institution, CSP-Solano, handles the events in Vacaville and they do a great job. Doing them in Roseville and Sacramento, allows us to broaden our reach for the athletes.”

Fellow CMF employees David Maldonado, the community resource manager, and Lt. Megan Cherinka, the public information officer for the prison, answered the call to assist, braving traffic to lend a hand. For these events, CDCR employees volunteer while off duty.

Meet the athletes

Sheila Robello, mother of athlete Rocky Robello, is appreciative of CDCR’s efforts.

“He loves to do this. He’s done this for years. They know him at the other restaurant and throw him in the kitchen,” she said. “He loves the restaurants.”

Rocky, a friendly young man, opened doors for guests as they arrived. “Hello folks, welcome to Chili’s,” he said with a broad grin.

“I started in 2011. This is a fundraising event to raise money for the Law Enforcement Torch Run and the Special Olympics summer games,” Rocky said. “It’s fun.”

Paul Andrews, another athlete, said he’s been doing the fundraisers for a few decades.

“I enjoy doing it because it makes me happy and the customers are happy. I’ve been doing this for several years. Maybe 30 years,” he said. “I love bocce ball.”

The April 6 fundraiser at Roseville’s Claim Jumpers eatery raised roughly $2,650. Employees of the Roseville Police Department joined CMF staff at the earlier event.

The April 26 Roseville event raised $1,095.

Story, photos by Don Chaddock, Inside CDCR editor

CMF employee wears Special Olympics shirt.
Lt. Megan Cherinka pitches in to help with Tip-A-Cop at Chili’s.

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