Carrying The Torch: Cops Run For Special Olympics
Law enforcement officers from Avon, Avon Lake help raise funds for Special Olympics
A dozen police and fire personnel laced up their sneakers to carry the Special Olympics torch on a 2.75-mile run from Avon to North Ridgeville June 20 as part of the national Law Enforcement Torch Run.
Shrouded in fog, the men started out behind the old Avon police department before running—accompanied by a police escort—down Detroit and onto Stoney Ridge Road. The run took them to the VFW Hall in North Ridgeville for the torch to be handed over to a new team of law enforcement workers.
From there, the torch wound its way through Northern Lorain County to Ohio State Highway Patrol Post 47 on SR 82.
The Avon satellite leg included Avon policeman George Ruple, Avon Lake policemen Sean Bockelman, Mike Bulger, Les Carrender, Don Godleski, Luke Hagedorn, Duane Streator, Fran Tibbitts and Jim Valencic, Euclid police captain Jim Savage, Barberton police sergeant Steve Burt and Avon Lake firefighter John Nakel.
The 13.9 Avon satellite leg is one of four in the Northeast Ohio. Other legs include Medina County, Walton Cuyahoga Falls and Ashland (June 23). Other runs include Ashtabula, Athens, Boardman, Capitol Square, Cincinnati/Dayton/Columbus, Euclid, northwest Ohio and Marrietta to Columbus, where the “Flame of Hope” will enter the stadium at Ohio State University.
Jim Savage, a captain with the Euclid Police Department, helped organize this year’s run. Savage said this marks the 30th year nationally for the Torch Run and the 25th in Ohio. The event is held in all 50 states.
Nationally, officers and athletes run the Flame of Hope™ to the opening ceremony of local Special Olympics competitions, state/provincial Games, and National Summer or Winter Games. In Ohio, the games will be held at Ohio State.
Every two years, law enforcement officers from around the world gather to carry the Flame of Hope in a Law Enforcement Torch Run Final Leg in honor of the Special Olympics World Summer or World Winter Games.
Each offer who runs commits $25 to the Special Olympics. The Law Enforcement Torch Run, started by six police officers looking to give back, is the largest grass roots fund raiser for the Special Olympics, raising more than $100 million since its inception.