Today, at 9:30 am, close to 50 North Bergen and West New York Law Enforcement Officers met at the 90th Street entrance to James J. Braddock Park and laced-up their sneakers for a good cause.
The officers were getting ready to run the 37th annual Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics, and were about to be joined by more than 3,000 law enforcement officers who will travel 750 miles to help carry the “Flame of Hope” that will kick-off the Special Olympics of New Jersey Summer Games.
The culmination of the run is the lighting of the Special Olympics New Jersey cauldron at the Opening Ceremony, an event that features more than 2,500 Special Olympics athletes.
As the WNY and NB Law Enforcement Officers stretched their hamstrings, Special Olympian Joe Maccegnano, who participates in the Special Olympics every year, and his sister Dorothy Oms stopped by to cheer them on.
“Special Olympics is a great organization, they do a lot of events for the athletes,” Dorothy Oms says. “Every year they add new events.”
Louis Gonzalez of the WNY Police Benevolent Association Chapter 61, and one of the coordinators of the local Torch Run, presented commemorative plaques to President Thomas Mannion and Captain Sergio Sanchez for their commitment to the Special Olympics.
“On behalf of their dedication to the Special Olympics, they received a plaque for their diligence,” Louis Gonzalez says. “Both of them have run the whole length which is over 12 miles. They’re very proud and we’re very proud for them.”
Special Olympics New Jersey is a not-for-profit organization that provides sports training and athletic competition to more than 25,000 children and adults with intellectual disabilities.
According to the NJ Law Enforcement Torch Run website, “In 1984, the first New Jersey Torch Run was conceived to raise funds and public awareness for the Special Olympics New Jersey program. The course ran from Liberty State Park in Jersey City to Rutgers Stadium in New Brunswick, through eight towns, covering 43 miles, and raised $7,000 in donations. In each succeeding year, the dollar amount has become greater and the number of volunteers has increased substantially.”
In recent years, through local-and-statewide events, more than $3 million has been raised annually by more than 3,000 officers. The Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics New Jersey is recognized as one of the top grassroots fundraising organizations for Special Olympics.
For more info: www.njtorchrun.org