published: Friday, May 04, 2012
Carrying the flame
Carrying the flame
ROXANNE BROWN | Staff Writer
"Playing basketball at the games, makes me feel like I can really play so good," said Lake County Special Olympian Joe Taylor, 20.
"It's fun. I can do it. The coaches help me."
Jeremiah Alfes, 19, said when he's running track and playing Boche during the Special Olympics season, it's "awesome," and Max Gulatta, 13, said running track makes him "feel better."
Those sentiments are what law enforcement agencies from Lake County were guaranteeing will continue by running the two miles in this year's 29th annual Law Enforcement Torch Run fundraiser Wednesday morning.
According to Laura Collins, the manager for the law enforcement torch run for "Special Olympics Florida," law enforcement raises about $500,000 each year for Special Olympics running in and promoting the torch run by selling shirts and caps, holding garage and bake sales, and taking donations. With contributions from Publix, the total comes to about $2 million annually in Florida.
Nationwide, the annual amount the events bring in is close to $42 million.
"It was an honor to participate in promoting awareness and raising funds for the Special Olympic athletes today," said Captain Charles Broadway of the Clermont Police Department, who was host to the morning's event. "The greatest part of it is when you get to the finish line and you see and hear all the special Olympic athletes waiting there for you and start to cheer you on when you pass by."
"It makes it all worthwhile and is such a great way to finish a race."
Broadway, who ran the two mile stretch in his uniform, along with Chief Steve Graham and other fellow officers and staff, said everyone he's talked to at the event has had similar sentiments.
"It's such a good cause," he said.
There were more than 150 participants who ran, walked or biked from the Publix shopping plaza at Citrus Tower Blvd. to the National Training Center Headquarters for the Special Olympics on Don Wickham Road about two miles down the road.
"It's not only a really awesome event, but it's so wonderful to see law enforcement and all these other agencies coming together for such a good cause."