The 2021 Torch Run was a modified event, that took place on just one day instead of the traditional three.
DOVER (DE) BY GEORGE SHEA: Participating law enforcement agencies from around Delaware help bring the 35th annual Special Olympics Torch Run to an end Thursday afternoon on The Green at Legislative Hall.
The 35th Annual statewide Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics involving over 500 Law Enforcement Officers was held on Thursday, June 10, 2021.
The 2021 Torch Run was a modified event, that took place on just one day instead of the traditional three. The Torch Run had two legs, one departed from the Georgetown Circle at 7:30 a.m. and the other one that left Middletown Police Department at 9:50 a.m.
Both legs ended in Dover with a ceremony on the Legislative Mall around 1:45 p.m.
“In its history, Delaware Law Enforcement for Special Olympics has raised more than $9.25 million to support Special Olympics Delaware’s year-round program of quality sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities and/or cognitive delays.,” said Gary Fournier, a Delaware State Police spokesman. “A family of over 5,000 volunteers makes this program possible for the more than 4,200 athletes who compete in Special Olympics Delaware.”
“The organization builds sports skills, confidence, strength, motivation, and self-esteem … not just for the athletes, but for everyone involved.,” Fournier added.
In addition to the statewide modified Torch Run, three police agencies held their own independent Torch Runs through their towns.
Seaford Police Department’s Torch Run was on Monday, June 7, 2021. You can watch their video on their Facebook page as the video was copyrighted and we were not able to embed it in this story.
Delmar and Rehoboth Beach Police Departments held theirs on Wednesday, June 9.
Delaware Newsline reporter George Shea was on the Green and had an opportunity to speak to one of this morning’s runners who’s been participating in the torch run for 31 years.
Danny Hall from the Delaware State Police ran nine miles this morning and he not only runs in the event but he’s also a coach.
“I’ve been a trooper for 31 years. So I got involved, the first year that I became a trooper,” Hall said. When asked what made him get involved with Special Olympics, Hall said it all began in college.
“Up in college, we had to go to two Special Olympic events for the class of athletic training. I enjoyed that. And then as soon as I came out in the academy, the Torch Run and I was I ran all the way through college. So it was a perfect opportunity to get a part become part of that. I did the Torch Run, and then in the fall, I started helping coach. So and I’ve been it’s been the greatest day of my life next to my family.”
We asked John Buzby, the director of Delaware Special Olympics, how the pandemic has affected Special Olympics and it’s athletes.
“Our athletes have been real warriors, as you would expect. They’ve been training. They just haven’t had an opportunity to compete since last year bowling season. So it’s been almost 15 months since they’ve actually had a competition where they’ll be vying for gold, silver and bronze.”
“They trained and they did a lot of activities in very safe ways in the fall. They did the same this spring leading up to this summer games, where they will compete and track and field and Bochy and tennis and softball. And it’s an opportunity for them to get back to what they enjoy doing the most, which is competing with their friends and against their friends, and having a good time.”
It’s been a true coming together of a lot of different people to make this possible for our athletes.
“Thanks to the hundreds of volunteers who will be part of it, our presenting sponsor, DuPont, and several others, sponsors and hosts that will be part of these games. It’s been a true coming together of a lot of different people to make this possible for our athletes.”
When asked about if the pandemic has affected fundraising Buzby said, “Of course, any time that you have something like this happen, your fundraising is going to be impacted.
“Of course, any time that you have something like this happen, your fundraising is going to be impacted. Some of our events were canceled. Some of them were modified that we did have, but we were very pleased with the outpouring of support financially. We were able to create some new events to be part of it, including the stronger together run, which happened both in the fall and this spring.
We were able to modify some of our events. Our polar bear plunge, for instance, was done virtually, and is and that is something that was able to still raise a substantial amount of money for our athletes, but we are very proud of the community. I’m very fortunate that they were able to come through and a lot of cases financially to allow our athletes to come in and you to compete free of charge.”