OSWEGO, NY – For more than 30 years, police officers throughout Oswego County have participated in the annual “Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics.”
On Monday, officers representing the cities of Fulton and Oswego, the county, state police and Oswego State University carried on the tradition.
The statewide torch relay began recently according to Fulton Police Chief Orlo Green. “This is the Oswego County leg of the relay,” he added.
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 more than 13-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.
A crowd greeted the runners in Fulton. Several other snapped photos of the runners along the route.
Sophia Graves, of the Fulton Police Department, was the torch bearer for the last part of the trek to the Municipal Building.
“We are running for the Special Olympics, to help raise awareness. All law enforcement supports it,” she told Oswego County Today. “We do it as a fundraiser for the Special Olympics.
“We’re proud to be involved in this event. It’s a very positive thing,” added Tory DeCaire, Oswego Police Chief.
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.