Hun­dreds turn out for Spe­cial Olympics Torch Run

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By CERONE WHITE cwhite@somd­news.com

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.”

STAFF PHO­TOS BY CERONE WHITE

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.

STAFF PHO­TOS BY CERONE WHITE

Deputy State Fire Mar­shal Caryn McMa­hon, hold­ing the flame of hope, stands along­side a mem­ber of the the U.S. Marine Corps.

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