Torch Run raises funds for Special Olympics


Photo by Jeffrey Leo

Newnan Police Department Deputy Chief Rodney Riggs carries the torch through the Court Square during Friday’s Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Georgia. 

Newnan Police officers and a host of local officials took part Friday in the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Georgia.

The group departed from the area of Greison Trail and Bullsboro Drive, carrying the torch through downtown and on to Newnan High School.

The torch run is the largest annual fundraising event benefiting Special Olympics Georgia. This signature event plays a significant role in Special Olympics Georgia’s annual budget, according to the Special Olympics Georgia website.

The LETR involves more than 1,000 law enforcement officers from more than 100 agencies who take part in a 1,000-mile, two week torch relay to pass the Special Olympics Georgia “Flame of Hope” across the State. All of the 11 relays converge at Emory University (Atlanta) during the State Summer Games Opening Ceremony.

The Special Olympics Georgia State Summer Games are May 30-June 1 at Emory University.

The Torch Run culminates at the State Summer Games as officers enter the Opening Ceremony with the Olympic Torch – the Flame of Hope. The Torch is passed to a Special Olympics athlete who lights the Olympic cauldron signifying “Let the games begin!”

The Law Enforcement Torch Run began in 1981 when Wichita, Kan., Police Chief Richard LaMunyon saw an urgent need to raise funds for and increase awareness of Special Olympics. The idea for the Torch Run was to provide local law enforcement officers with an opportunity to volunteer with Special Olympics in the communities where the officers lived and worked. After three years of successful runs in Kansas, Chief LaMunyon presented his idea to the International Association of Chiefs of Police, which endorsed Special Olympics as its official charity through the Torch Run. Today, all 50 states and more than 40 countries have their own versions of the Torch Run.

In Georgia, the first Torch Run was organized in 1986 and has grown into the largest fundraising effort of Special Olympics Georgia. The Torch Run has continued to reach new records in fundraising efforts each year. Along with being the premier fundraising event for SOGA, it is also the most visible event in Special Olympics.

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