Mount Pleasant police Officer James Kelley was awarded an honorary title belt Monday for organizing the Battle of the Badges fundraiser for autism and Easter Seals.

Kelley, police Sgt. Jason Vaccaro, and members of South Shore Fire Department who participated in boxing matches presented a check for $27,328.38 to representatives of Easter Seals during the regular Mount Pleasant Village Board meeting.

During his remarks to village trustees, Kelley thanked his fellow officers – including Vaccaro whom Kelley went against during the main event – and the community for their support.

Kelley’s son, Logan, has autism, and he was inspired to organize the fundraiser when another officer decided to put his money where Kelley’s and Vaccaro’s mouths were.

“We always joked about boxing one another, and that’s how all this got started,” Kelley told the board.

Based on the success of the Badges event, Kelley hopes to make the Battle an annual event.

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