Kim McPeck said the last thing he wanted to do last week was to watch the Academy Awards.
The 34-year-old Santa Ana man said that if he wanted to see awards, all he had to do was walk over to his garage, where more than 400 trophies of all shapes and sizes are stored.
Although McPeck has won a few of the trophies himself, most of them were bestowed on co-workers, family members, friends and neighbors who are helping the city maintenance worker reach his goal of collecting 1,000 used trophies for the Orange County Special Olympics.
"I figure that there are a lot of people who are like me and have a whole bunch of trophies just sitting around collecting dust," McPeck said as he removed a trophy from a crate in his garage and blew off a thick layer of dust.
McPeck, a leader of the Bristol Manor Neighborhood Assn., came up with the idea of collecting the trophies after talking to Joyce Lawson, a city recreation supervisor who is in charge of Special Olympics events in Santa Ana.
"Kim is the kind of guy who really likes to get involved and is very enthusiastic about whatever he does," Lawson said. "When I told him that we revamp old trophies and use them for our events, he became very interested in helping us out."
At least 4,000 used trophies are recycled each year and awarded to Special Olympics participants at various athletic events, said Madeline Evans, director of the Orange County Special Olympics.
"What we do is remake them," Evans said. "Every single trophy will be used because we go through thousands of them each year. Right now, we have trophies coming out of our ears, but we can always use more."
Evans and a group of disabled athletes give the trophies a new lease on life by placing a new label over the trophy's existing one and replacing the top of the award with a symbol denoting the appropriate Special Olympics event.
"The only cost is the label, and even those are funded partially by donations," Evans said. "The best part is, those trophies will put smiles on a lot of faces."
McPeck's trophy drive began last year at Santa Ana's city employee talent show, where he received a trophy for a stand-up comedy routine.
"When I was on the stage, I said I would keep the award at home for a few weeks, cherish it, then donate it to Special Olympics," McPeck said.
The trophies collected by McPeck so far range from 3-foot-tall baseball trophies to a 6-inch-high cheerleading award.
Although the drive has already been very successful, McPeck is still hoping to double what he has collected so far and has arranged for several trophy drop-off spots throughout the city.
The drop-off spots are at El Salvador Center, 1825 W. Civic Center Drive; Memorial Center, 2102 S. Flower St.; Jerome Center, 726 S. Center St.; Santa Anita Center, 300 S. Figueroa St.; and Corbin Center, 2215 W. McFadden Ave.