Hundreds turn out for Special Olympics Torch Run
The Special Olympics Flame of Hope shined brightly last Thursday in the Town of La Plata as the Charles County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO), led by Sheriff Troy Berry (D) and community members, took part in the local leg of the annual Special Olympic Torch Run.
This year’s CCSO Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) kicked off at 9 a.m. in the Texas Roadhouse parking lot. More than 500 participants were in attendance, including members of local police departments, members of the U.S. Marine Corps from Naval Support Facility Indian
Head and residents who came to support Special Olympics Maryland.
“I support the Special Olympics because my husband was in law enforcement,” Myra Adams said. “Plus I’m doing it for the exercise, too.”
The LETR benefits Special Olympics Maryland in helping the organization raise funds which equip athletes with the training needed to help cover the cost of running the event.
“We’re just honored and privileged to be a part of this wonderful organization and this fundraising effort,” Berry said before the run began. “Whether it is a residential support, business support, or just the athletes family supporting us — I just want to thank each and every one of you for being here and your continued support.”
With participants flooding in, this year’s event raised over $65,000, according to Sergeant Gus Proctor, CCSO Special Olympics coordinator.
“The Law Enforcement Torch Rub is a wonderful cause, it’s a steady growing event year after year. We are supporting individuals with intellectual disabilities within our community,” Proctor said.
“I had just had to be here no matter what. I am here to support people coming together as a community, it really takes a village and this is awesome to see how many people are out today showing their support,” said Jeannine James, mayor of the Town of La Plata. “The LETR has been going on for years and it’s been growing and growing. I just love this.”
“It’s a chance to come out and support the sheriff’s department,” said
Joanne Lunsford, mother and supporter of the LETR. “It’s been five years since I [started] supporting the torch run.”
The 2017 Special Olympics Summer Games ran June 9-11 in Cockeysville and Towson, with the first day of activities held at Towson University. Athletes also took part in healthy hearing and fit feet activities, a block party celebration, opening ceremonies and the final leg of the Law Enforcement Torch Run. The second and final days included competition in athletics, bocce, swimming and softball.
According to Jason Schriml of Special Olympics Maryland, approximately $200,000 was made from the sales of T-shirts from those who participated in the LETR. These funds were used to offset the cost of the 2017 Summer Special Olympics Maryland.
“To help the organization grow, we are always looking for people to contribute at the coaching level or at the volunteering level,” Schriml said. “Financial support is always welcomed as well.”
More than 500 people participated in the Charles County Law Enforcement Torch Run, which raised money for Special Olympics Maryland. Participants included members of the local police department and Marines from Naval Support Facility Indian Head.
Charles County Sheriff Troy Berry embraces torch run participant Myra Adams.
Torch Run participants gathered before the start of Thursday’s event in La Plata.
Deputy State Fire Marshal Caryn McMahon, holding the flame of hope, stands alongside a member of the the U.S. Marine Corps.