The Law Enforcement Torch Run is an annual nationwide event benefiting Special Olympics in which law enforcement personnel run the "Flame of Hope" to the opening ceremony of their state's Special Olympics Summer Games. The Arizona Law Enforcement Torch Run came through the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community again this year on April 31, on the way to the opening ceremony of the Arizona Special Olympics Summer Games in Mesa. Every year, Salt River law enforcement officials and other employees participate in the event.
On the morning of the run, the Salt River bicyclists and runners met at the Salt River Police Department. Everyone piled into vans and drove down Beeline Highway to Shea Boulevard to meet the runners who were handing off the Arizona Torch from the Fort McDowell Indian Community. SRPD Chief Stan Kephart accepted the torch from the Fort McDowell runners, and then the Salt River bicyclists rode to Gilbert Road to meet up with the Salt River runners. At approximately 12:15 p.m., all Salt River participants began the Torch Run at Gilbert Road and State Route 87 by running or bicycling to the ending point at McDowell and Country Club roads. They then passed the Arizona Torch to the Mesa Police Department at 2:15 p.m. All together the Salt River portion of the run was 12 miles, with 30 participants from the Community involved this year.
"This was the first time I participated, and I was glad that I did. I was impressed with all the hard work and dedication from those who arranged it, all to support the Special Olympics," said Torch Run participant Lena Jackson.
SRPD Team Members have been consistent participants of this very worthwhile event for many years.
"It's so rewarding to participate in the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics each year because of the overwhelming support we get from members of the Community, as well as SRPMIC employees and vendors," said SRPD Detective Tyesha Wood. "Although this difficult economy prevented us from generating the kind of contributions we would have liked, we were still able to raise $500 in T-shirt sales, with 100 percent going directly to the Special Olympics."
The Two Waters Cafeteria donated food and drinks for all of the Torch Run participants.
"We are excited about next year's Law Enforcement Torch Run because we will be creating more fun ways to involve the Community through activities, events and raffles to generate more money for this very worthwhile charity…stay tuned," added Det. Wood.
The Law Enforcement Torch Run began in 1981 and has grown to an international program that involves thousands of law enforcement personnel raising millions of dollars annually to benefit Special Olympics programs in the United States and abroad. The Torch Run is the largest grassroots fundraiser and public awareness vehicle for Special Olympics.