Runners from the Sanford Police Department handed off the Flame of Hope to the North Berwick Police Department at the Waban main campus Tuesday morning during this year’s Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics. The Torch Run began in Sanford, Maine on June 7 and passed south through the Berwicks and York until it reached Kittery. The 32-mile run, completed by a handful of police officers from each town, represented the Southern Maine leg of this year’s run. Each year, the run takes place in the days preceding the Special Olympics Summer games in Orono, Maine and culminates at the Opening Ceremonies. The 2016 Summer games are scheduled for June 11 and 12.
North Berwick Police Officer Jonathan Koelker hands Special Olympics athlete Chris Heywood the Flame of Hope Torch in front of Waban’s Route 4 campus.
The rain didn’t dampen any spirits as Waban Special Olympic athletes, staff, and Fraser-Ford Child Development Center students eagerly awaited the Sanford Police Department at the end of Dunaway Drive. The crowd erupted in cheers when the blue flashing lights of a Sanford Police cruiser indicated the five police officers making their way from the Sanford Police Station down Route 4 were about to arrive.
Along with the excited crowd, the team from the North Berwick Police Department was at the ready to accept the torch. Jonathan Koelker of the North Berwick Police Department symbolically passed the torch to Waban’s Special Olympics athlete Chris Heywood, as a gesture of good luck in the 2016 Summer Games before joining his team to complete the North Berwick portion of the run.
The Law Enforcement Torch Run is not only a symbol of uniting Special Olympics teams from the state, but also a fundraiser for the 2016 Summer Games. Last year the run raised more than $400,000 for the Special Olympics, providing funding for the athletes, hosts, and venue for the main event.
Visit Waban’s Facebook page for photos of our athletes at this year’s 2016 Special Olympic Summer Games. To learn more about the Law Enforcement Torch Run, please visit http://www.somaine.org/support/law-enforcement-torch-run/.