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Story, photos by Don Chaddock, Inside CDCR editor, OPEC

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

After a long work day, Tileston recently drove from Vacaville to Chili’s restaurant in Roseville for a Tip-A-Cop event he helped organize. It was the second such event for Tileston in April.

“I’ve been doing this since 2013,” he said as he answered questions from Special Olympics athletes and got them organized. “I enjoy it because my wife had a sister who was an athlete. She’s since passed away. I also 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 the fundraising events are statewide and 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 and braved traffic to lend a hand. Each CDCR employee volunteers his or her off-time to the event.

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 event raised $1,095.

CMF staff members were joined by Roseville Police Department at Claim Jumpers on April 6, raising $2,650 for Special Olympics. Courtesy photo.