OSWEGO, NY – For decades, police officers throughout Oswego County have participated in the annual “Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics.”
On Tuesday, officers representing the cities of Fulton and Oswego, the county and others carried on the tradition.
The statewide torch relay began a while ago, according to Fulton Police Deputy Chief Thomas Abelgore.
The runs are designed to focus attention on the Special Olympics.
The torch run came to New York in 1985.
The LETR for Special Olympics is the movement’s largest grassroots fundraiser and public awareness vehicle for Special Olympics in the world.
The Law Enforcement Torch Run began in 1981 when Wichita, Kansas, Police Chief Richard LaMunyon saw an urgent need to raise funds for and increase awareness of Special Olympics.
The LETR was quickly adopted by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, now recognized as the founding law enforcement organization of the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics.
Since 1981, the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics has raised more than $415 million, with a record $43 million raised in 2011 alone.
Locally, the runners began the nearly 14-mile Oswego County leg of the run at the Oswego State’s University Police Department’s headquarters on Iroquois rail on campus, and it concluded at the Fulton Municipal Building.
For safety, they had an escort of police vehicles the entire route.
Sophia Graves, of the Fulton Police Department, was the torch bearer for the last part of the trek to the Municipal Building.
“The event was a success. We had a number of agencies take part in this run both to raise awareness and money for Special Olympic athletes,” said Lt. Charles Searor of the Oswego Police Department. “The money that’s raised through this event gives Special Olympic athletes the opportunity to take part in athletic events through out the state. Agencies that participated were Oswego City PD, Fulton City PD, Oswego County Sheriff’s Deparement and the US Border Patrol.”
More than 142,000 law enforcement officers in all 50 states, 12 Canadian provinces and 48 countries contribute to Torch Run efforts annually as Guardians of the Flame, ensuring the delivery of the Special Olympics Flame of Hope to the opening ceremonies of local Special Olympics competitions, state/provincial games and national games.
Since 1987, law enforcement officers from around the world have gathered to carry the Flame of Hope in a Law Enforcement Torch Run Final Leg in conjunction with Special Olympics World Summer and World Winter Games.
Special Olympics New York has 61,582 athletes across New York State compete and train in 22 Olympic-style sports throughout the year, always and no cost to them or their families.
For more information, visit www.nyso.org