By Tricia Goecks


BELVIDERE – “How many people get to say I do a lot for my community,” asked Mike Lowe.

Mike Lowe, Joe Cangelosi and Marty Mast are three people who can emphatically say that they do and are the recipients of the Belvidere Daily Republican’s Volunteer of the Month.

The trio is part of the 62 strong Volunteer in Policing program (VIP) that is sponsored by the Belvidere Police Department. Collectively, the VIPs have logged 2,931.5 hours and have saved the City of Belvidere a total of $131,918 for calendar year 2014.

The three men will receive plaques at the March 2 City Council meeting for volunteering over 1,000 hours each since they joined the organization. In 2014, Lowe volunteered 198.25 hours. Cangelosi volunteered 197.5 hours and Mast volunteered 197 hours. Since joining the VIPs, they have volunteered for 1,021, 1003, and 1,076 hours respectively.

 “The pay is the feel good for what you do. It is more pay than a dollar,” Cangelosi said.

“We are not there for the hours and the recognition. We are there for the community,” Lowe added.

“They mean the world to our department and the city,” John Fish praised them. Fish is the community policing coordinator for the Belvidere Police Department. “Marty, Joe and Mike have done a lot for this department to accumulate over 1,000 hours. That is a lot of free time that they have donated to the city.”

The VIPs are a familiar sight around Belvidere. They can be seen helping set up and control traffic during any of the City’s seven parades. They help volunteer during the medication disposal day held each spring at the Belvidere Township offices, control traffic at the YMCA triathlon and YMCA marathon and the Conservation District’s Pioneer Days, RAMP Wheelathon, Belvidere High School cross country meet, man a booth at the Boone County Exposition, and check in people at the City Council meetings. VIP members fill Halloween bags with glow sticks.

“We do a lot of the behind doors stuff such as getting the oil changed, car washed, maintenance issues. We help with stuff so that it is not tying up an officer’s time,” Lowe said “We do a lot of that (kind of things) as a group.”

In addition to volunteering during scheduled events, the VIPs help out during emergencies. The group helps block intersections when there is a fire, downed power lines, flood, or crime scene.

“The officers have more important things to do. If we have to, we go sit at an intersection for a downed power line,” Lowe explained.

“I have sat at an intersection for hours until the electric company arrived,” Mast said. “There is something different all of the time.”

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