Law enforcement officers help carry torch for Special Olympics
June 1, 2016 12:13 AM
Officer Todd Foreman of the Washington, Pa., police carries a torch Tuesday on Centre Avenue in Uptown Pittsburgh while leading members of Clairton’s and Washington’s police departments in the “Be a Fan” Torch Run. The three-day, 150-mile run from Pittsburgh to Penn State University kicks off the Special Olympics 2016 Summer Games in State College.
By Lily Oppenheimer / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Special Olympics athlete Mike Maker ran from Station Square to Market Square Tuesday alongside several law enforcement volunteers and friends, all with the common goal of kicking off the Special Olympics PA Games in State College.
Beginning with lighting the Olympic torch at PNC Park’s home plate, the three-day Law Enforcement Torch Run is 150 miles, encompasses more than 52 police departments, and brings together approximately 500 volunteers.
Runners pass the flaming torch through various stations after jogging a few miles, and the run will end with lighting the Flame of Hope during opening ceremonies Thursday evening at Penn State University’s Medlar Field.
“I play basketball, and these are my friends,” Mr. Maker said, pointing to a group of runners hoisting flags, preparing to begin the 3-mile run. “I’m a captain of the Port Authority police team. I feel so good today.”
Mr. Maker said that he will be playing basketball in the summer games, and he is excited about it.
Each team is a combination of law enforcement, volunteer runners and Special Olympic PA athletes. Matt Porter, chief of the Port Authority police, led the team with Mr. Maker. After waiting in the sun for nearly an hour, everyone gathered their flags and stretched as police escort motorcycles approached Station Square. Then they were off.
“Law enforcement is really a grassroots organization for fundraising for the Special Olympics,” Chief Porter said. “We take a lot of pride in that.”
Carrie Jaumann, special events manager for the Special Olympics PA, loved the turnout and was proud the event was going smoothly.
“Everyone is a volunteer, and they also make a donation,” Ms. Jaumann said. “Today is one of my favorite days. It’s great to see law enforcement come together and run the torch from Pittsburgh all the way to State College. I believe in the mission of this organization.”
On Tuesday, the runners stopped outside of Monroeville. They will continue the run today to Altoona, and from there they will run to Penn State for the start of the summer games.
Lily Oppenheimer: email@example.com or 412-263-1937.
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