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Torch Run will light up the hearts of Special Olympians and Merced PD runners

Mike Conway

Post Date:06/13/2016

NOTE: The Law Enforcement Torch Run begins at UC Merced at 7 a.m. The runners cross Bellevue to M Street then down M Street to the Merced Police Station at 22nd Street when they pass the torch to the MC Sheriff's Department sometime between 8:30 a.m. and 9 a.m.) 

Merced PD joins Special Olympics for Torch Run Wednesday

Merced police officers will take part in the Law Enforcement Torch Run Wednesday helping to support the Special Olympics. The Merced PD will take the middle leg of the run that stretches from the UC Merced campus to Highway 99.

Joining the men and women in blue, will be members of the Merced Fire Department. They will all be running alongside Special Olympic athletes eager to head to the Games at UC Davis later this month.  

'It's a huge event,' said Officer Krista Stokes, who has participated in the Torch Run for the past 5 years. 'The whole S.W.A.T. team will be out there, we've got 20 to 25 people from PD participating. Merced City Fire will join us, along with Merced County Probation Department.'

The UC Merced Police Department will anchor the starting leg and the Merced County Sheriff's Department will anchor the finishing leg ending at the freeway.

This is the first year local organizers raised funds for the Special Olympics. Through a pancake breakfast and T-shirt sales more than $1,500 was raised for the Special Olympics Games being held this month at UC Davis.

'Every $100 lets three athletes compete,' Stokes said. 'It's an amazing program.'

Officer Emily Foster joined with Stokes to organize the Merced Police Department leg of the Torch Run.

'We've been training the last couple months for this run,' Foster said, who is participating in the run for the first time. 'We've been doing a lot of distance running. We go Downtown, along the creek, everywhere to train.'

'This is such a great cause,' Foster said.

The Torch Run is expected to draw more than 3,000 law enforcement personnel from local, county, state, federal and military agencies in Northern California. It has participants in all 50 states and 46 countries and is expected to raise more than $34 million a year.

The Run began in Wichita, KA, in 1981 when the local police chief decided to involve the law enforcement community with Special Olympics to help raise funds and awareness of the program.


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