Waving to curious bystanders and those tooting car horns, members of the South Pasadena Police Officers Association (SPPOA), a local City Council member and community volunteers participated in the annual Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics on Thursday, June 7, through the streets of the city.
Carrying the “Flame of Hope” at the head of the pack was South Pasadena Police Chief Art Miller as City Councilman Robert Joe, north of 70 in age and looking strong, was there every step of the way bringing up the rear.
The Torch Run is the largest grassroots fundraising event for Special Olympics, and this year’s local participants moved quickly in unison powering their way down the 3-mile route.
For their leg, local runners carried the torch from Fremont Avenue and Alhambra Road, north on Fremont Avenue, east on Huntington Drive, north on Fair Oaks Avenue and west on Monterey Road across the York Bridge, heading into Highland Park.
The torch was then handed off to Los Angeles Unified School Police Department officials who continued to carry it through the streets of L.A., heading to its final destination – Cal State Long Beach for the start of this weekend’s Special Olympics.
A multitude of law enforcement agencies make monetary contributions to the Special Olympics. A year ago, the Southern California Torch Run raised nearly 1.4 million dollars.
The event started in 1981 by the Wichita, Kansas Police Department Police Chief Richard LaMunyon as way to raise funds and awareness for the non-profit organization.
In Southern California, about 3,000 officers and Special Olympics athletes will carry the “Flame of Hope” torch over 1,500 miles through 200 communities to help raise awareness and funds for area Special Olympics’ chapters.
Each year, the SPPOA donates funds to the organization that are used to help support and develop athlete participation in local, regional, state and international competitions as well as training workshops and conferences.