ST. CLAIRSVILLE - "Anything to protect children is a good cause," said Jerry Campbell, spearing some scrambled eggs with his fork. His dinner companions, wife Melissa, and Linda and Gary McMillen agreed.
The couples were having a bite to eat at Denny's in St. Clairsville Thursday night, and 20 percent of their dinner checks will be donated to the Sexual Predator Internet Initiative (SPII) Task Force. The fund-raiser is being held in memory of SPII founder and Bethesda Police Chief Tim Zdanski, who passed away in July.
Every Thursday evening in September, from 5 to 9 p.m., patrons can participate in the event by presenting a flier about the promotion to the wait staff when ordering. Fliers will be available at the door only at the St. Clairsville restaurant, 68296 Red Roof Lane, across from the I-70 westbound ramps. There is no extra charge. Denny's will turn in the fliers with the dinner receipts to the corporate office, and the company will issue a check to SPII.
Come hungry, and bring friends for the Thursday night dinner donation program at Denny’s Restaurant. Here, from left, Melissa Campbell, Jerry Campbell, Gary McMillen and Linda McMillen, all from Barnesville, are supporting the featured group for September, the SPII Task Force, a multi-agency organization that captures child predators.
Virtually all of the region's arrests of sexual predators can be attributed to this task force comprised of city, county and state law enforcement partners, prosecutors and social and mental health workers. Starting with a computer and some software in the Bethesda police department, Chief Zdanski applied for funding and grants to develop the BPD office and Martins Ferry Police Department satellite office into highly sophisticated, state of the art crime labs that not only rival Ohio's two state labs, but are nationally recognized. The team's efforts have saved untold numbers of children.
Bethesda Police Chief Jeremy Campbell, who has been with SPII since its inception, explains that funds garnered from the dinners at Denny's will help with program trainings and licensing fees for software. He says they are looking at some new investigative software and equipment to help them track a never-ending stream of predators.
Campbell credits Ginger Haring of the SPII team in Bethesda for organizing the Denny's promotion for September and again in December.
"This is a good cause," says Emory Necessary, restaurant manager for Denny's. "We help organizations raise money. People come in for dinner. It's a win-win for everyone."
Each month a different organization is featured for the program according to Necessary. Interested groups must fill out an application that is sent to Denny's corporate office. They review the paperwork and give the go-ahead to approved applicants. Necessary adds that it helps Denny's "build a rapport with the community," too.
Taylor Zdanski, daughter of the late police chief, was handing out fliers at the door and commented on the dinner promotion. "My family and I continue to be amazed at the impact my dad had on our community. The SPII Task Force is a major accomplishment of his career and his life. We are very grateful that his memory is being honored by so many special people helping to carry on his work."