Sheriff ready for Dreamlift Day

Event helps the Sunshine Foundation take children with severe physical disabilities or life-threatening illnesses to Disneyland

Capt. Bob Peterson is looking forward to big smiles and lots of generosity.

The Orange County sheriff will be at the Vernon Wendy’s today as part of the 19th annual Wendy’s Dreamlift Day.

“There is an outpouring of love and support,” said Peterson, who was also in Vernon last year.

Funds raised at Wendy’s restaurants, including in Vernon, help the Sunshine Foundation take children with severe physical disabilities or life-threatening illnesses to Disneyland for a day.

All of the profits and staff and management wages Wednesday will go to the foundation.

Last year, a record $114,276 was raised, pushing the cumulative total since 1995 to $1.1 million.

Indicative of the community support, residents stand in line to place their orders and donate.

“They give it willingly and freely,” said Peterson, who remembers a young child handing over the contents of his piggy bank last year.

“Wow, that’s giving.”

Members of the Orange County Sheriff Department volunteer their time as chaperones when the children are touring Disneyland.

For Peterson, the experience has been transforming.

“For one day, you have the opportunity to change a child’s life and to take the pain and suffering away,” he said.

So impressed with the North Okanagan’s compassion during Wendy’s Dreamlift Day, he wants to bring Los Angeles media with him in 2014.

“I want them to see the magnitude of community support,” he said.

The theme of this year’s Wendy’s Dreamlift Day is refer a child.

Wendy’s and the Sunshine Foundation want everyone in the Interior to know how to refer a child who may be eligible for the trip to the Magic Kingdom.

The next scheduled flight to Disneyland is in late 2013.