Jeff Pexton/MHTS/PGI Photo


olyThe Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics New York ran through the heart of Utica on Wednesday, June 12th.

Representatives of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies carried the flame from the Utica Police Station on Oriskany Street, onto Lafayette Street and up Genesee Street to South Utica.

 Members of the Utica Police Department escorted the torch on its journey through the City.

The Law Enforcement Torch Run is the largest grassroots fund-raising and public awareness vehicle in the world for Special Olympics.

In addition to carrying the “Flame of Hope” to their local, state Special Olympic Games, law enforcement officials organize and conduct additional fund-raising initiatives such as Polar Plunges, merchandise sales and golf outings.

The torch and runners that came through Utica on Wednesday morning represented the third leg of a State long trek toward lighting the Special Olympic Games Cauldron in Buffalo, where the New York State Special Olympic Games will take place June 14 – 16, 2013.

The statewide relay involves thousands of Special Olympics New York athletes and law enforcement officers from hundreds of agencies.

Stops at schools and businesses along the route give the public the opportunity to witness the excitement surrounding the Torch Run and Special Olympics.

Special thanks to Special Olympics New York Director of Development Cassandra Rucker for the invitation to today’s fine event.

Best of luck to all Special Olympians from My Hometown Sports!

More on the torch run from Central New York Special Olympics!

What is the Torch Run?

The Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) for Special Olympics is a year-round fundraising and awareness movement organized by law enforcement officers from around the world. In 2009 alone, officers from 35 countries raised more than $34 million for Special Olympics programs.

olyNew York Torch Run 

Each year, law enforcement officers from across the state raise money and awareness for the athletes of Special Olympics New York by participating in the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics. For more than 24 years thousands of officers from hundreds of agencies across New York have been participating in LETR initiatives. For the first time ever in 2008, law enforcement officials raised over $1,000,000 for our athletes.

How It Works

More than 3,000 officers from Buffalo all the way to Long Island carry the “Flame of Hope” across the state from May through June 4th where the Torch will come into Opening Ceremonies of the 2010 Summer State Games in Utica, NY . The Torch will also stop in local communities for Regional Games across the state. 

In addition to the Torch Runs, there are many special events that take place throughout the year to raise funds for the athletes of Special Olympics New York.

These Torch Run events not only raise money but also awareness for the Special Olympics movement, and involve literally thousands of law enforcement officers who volunteer their time to plan and organize events. 

The History

The Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics, the largest grassroots fundraising program benefiting Special Olympics, began in 1981 when Wichita , Kansas 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 over 40 countries have their own versions of the Torch Run.