GUILFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Back on the beat after climbing to the top of the world. Cheshire Police Officer Dave Maliar and Guilford Police Lieutenant Tim Bernier are the first among a group of Connecticut law enforcement officers to return from a trip to Tanzania in Africa.
It wasn’t a vacation. They were climbed the fourth highest mountain in the world to raise money for Special Olympics Connecticut.
“It was a very unbelievable feeling,” said Lt. Bernier.
“It got a little emotional up there,” said Officer Maliar. “But, that was the best part seeing everybody — all 12 of us — make it up.”
It took four days to climb over 19,000 feet. But, they never felt like giving up because they knew they had a purpose: to finish the journey and make money for the athletes with the Special Olympics back home who’ve had to climb different mountains in life.
“I know somebody personally that is an athlete with the Special Olympics and that organization has helped him grow into the man that he is today,” said Officer Maliar. “To be able to make the statement that we made climbing to the top of that mountain — I think we got some attention and that’s really what they deserve.”
So far, their effort has raised about $160,000 for Special Olympics Connecticut with more donations still coming in.
“I think these guys are incredible,” said Taryn Prostano of Special Olympics Connecticut. “These guys and gals, actually.”
The other members who conquered Kilimanjaro are returning next week. They are: Lt. Mike Durkee of the Cheshire Police Department, Laurie Harder of Guilford, Detective Tom McGarvey of the Naugatuck Police Department, Detective Donna Brown of the Putnam Police Department, Deputy Chief Josh Bernegger and Lt. Tim Gavallas of the Watertown Police Department, Lt. Rob Kluk and Lt. Dave Hartman of the Wilton Police Department and Sgt. Ralph Fiasco Jr. and Sgt. Mandy Grey of New Jersey.
“To be able to make the statement that we made climbing to the top of the mountain, I think we got some attention and that’s really what they deserve,” said Officer Maliar.