Law enforcement torch run passes through Camden
Camden — Law enforcement personnel took to the streets just after 8 a.m. June 4 to help carry the torch for Special Olympics.
Joining the officers -- as he has each year since he was 5 -- was Special Olympics athlete Graham Wiley, now 23. While the torch arrived late, the run kicked off from Camden Opera House with a police escort. Wiley ran for a short time, then rode with his parents to The Helm Restaurant on Route 1, where he handed out water to the passing runners.
According to a press release, more than 600 law enforcement officials will participate in carrying the Flame of Hope to raise funds for, and an awareness of, Special Olympics Maine. The Torch Run began in 1981 in Wichita, Kan., by Police Chief Richard LaMunyon. He knew there was an urgent need for funds at Special Olympics and he also wanted to get his officers involved in the community, the press release states. After three years of very successful runs, LaMunyon took his idea to the International Association of Chiefs of Police and received enthusiastic support. To this day the run is sponsored by the IACP. In 1984 the Torch Run was brought to Maine by then Chief Robert Bell. The run now takes place in all 50 states and more than 100 countries.
Last years' Torch Run raised more than $300,000 for Special Olympics Maine.
Special Olympics is a year round athletic training and competition program for adults and children with intellectual disabilities of all ages. In Maine there are more than 3,800 athletes who participate in the program. The Special Olympics Summer Games take place at University of Maine at Orono June 6 to 8.