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Lighting up support


The Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics is far from new — it’s more than a quarter century old and has raised in excess of $1 million in this province.

But that hasn’t tempered the excitement.

The buzz surrounding the annual event was obvious Friday as various law enforcement entities joined a parade of 38 athletes along Main Street, Grand Falls-Windsor.

Spearheaded locally by the RCMP detachment, the Torch Run in Grand Falls-Windsor netted more than $12,000 in donations, half of which stays with the Exploits Hurricanes program. The remainder goes to the provincial organization.

“That is quite an effort for this number of athletes,” RCMP Const. Doug Mesher said.

“They went way over and above this year, and we’re all pretty proud.”

Mesher said he’s delighted with the support of other agencies that join the Torch Run, and to everyone who shows support.

Support came in a unique form this year. The owners of the Splash and Putt Waterpark near Eastport came on board to recognize the efforts of the participants and offered a free day pass to all athletes.

“It’s good to be able to do something like that to show appreciation for the athletes,” Mesher added. “These guys are athletes like any other. They work hard, train hard and play hard.”

 The Torch Run website notes the event is managed by a volunteer group of committed law enforcement individuals, many of whom have been members since it’s inception. 

The mission of the committee is simple — to raise funds to help sustain Special Olympics programming needs.

 

Stepping up

 

The Knights of Columbus is another group that has thrown its support behind the Special Olympics movement in Exploits.

The Knights have supported the program internationally since 1969 when it became the world sponsors.

Since then, the organization has raised $600 million for physically and intellectually challenged individuals — $220 million of which was for Special Olympics said local spokesman, Dave Barker.

Barker said it is never difficult to find volunteers from the Notre Dame or PJ Connors Councils who have taken to combining their efforts on Special Olympics support activities.

His own interest was piqued some years back while watching a Special Olympic race broadcast on an American TV network.

“One of the racers fell down and all the rest of them stopped to help him up, clean him off and crossed the line with him,” Barker said. “The announcer almost cried and said it was the greatest display of sportsmanship he had ever seen.”

“If ever you’re in an area where there’s a Special Olympics event taking place, take it in,” Barker added. “You’ll see the true, true meaning of sportsmanship.”

The local Knights councils have been getting more and more involved, and plan to further increase visibility.

Members have organized activities such as a soccer kick and a recent hockey blast.

Now they’re stepping in with a fundraiser.

Knights from both groups will be on hand June 24-26 from noon to 4 p.m. selling hot dogs at the Grand Falls-Windsor Dominion.

The grocery chain donated all the materials for the fundraiser so all proceeds will go to Special Olympics.

“Even if you don’t eat hot dogs, donations are always welcome,” Barker added.

randy.edison@gfwadvertiser

 

But that hasn’t tempered the excitement.

The buzz surrounding the annual event was obvious Friday as various law enforcement entities joined a parade of 38 athletes along Main Street, Grand Falls-Windsor.

Spearheaded locally by the RCMP detachment, the Torch Run in Grand Falls-Windsor netted more than $12,000 in donations, half of which stays with the Exploits Hurricanes program. The remainder goes to the provincial organization.

“That is quite an effort for this number of athletes,” RCMP Const. Doug Mesher said.

“They went way over and above this year, and we’re all pretty proud.”

Mesher said he’s delighted with the support of other agencies that join the Torch Run, and to everyone who shows support.

Support came in a unique form this year. The owners of the Splash and Putt Waterpark near Eastport came on board to recognize the efforts of the participants and offered a free day pass to all athletes.

“It’s good to be able to do something like that to show appreciation for the athletes,” Mesher added. “These guys are athletes like any other. They work hard, train hard and play hard.”

 The Torch Run website notes the event is managed by a volunteer group of committed law enforcement individuals, many of whom have been members since it’s inception. 

The mission of the committee is simple — to raise funds to help sustain Special Olympics programming needs.

 

Stepping up

 

The Knights of Columbus is another group that has thrown its support behind the Special Olympics movement in Exploits.

The Knights have supported the program internationally since 1969 when it became the world sponsors.

Since then, the organization has raised $600 million for physically and intellectually challenged individuals — $220 million of which was for Special Olympics said local spokesman, Dave Barker.

Barker said it is never difficult to find volunteers from the Notre Dame or PJ Connors Councils who have taken to combining their efforts on Special Olympics support activities.

His own interest was piqued some years back while watching a Special Olympic race broadcast on an American TV network.

“One of the racers fell down and all the rest of them stopped to help him up, clean him off and crossed the line with him,” Barker said. “The announcer almost cried and said it was the greatest display of sportsmanship he had ever seen.”

“If ever you’re in an area where there’s a Special Olympics event taking place, take it in,” Barker added. “You’ll see the true, true meaning of sportsmanship.”

The local Knights councils have been getting more and more involved, and plan to further increase visibility.

Members have organized activities such as a soccer kick and a recent hockey blast.

Now they’re stepping in with a fundraiser.

Knights from both groups will be on hand June 24-26 from noon to 4 p.m. selling hot dogs at the Grand Falls-Windsor Dominion.

The grocery chain donated all the materials for the fundraiser so all proceeds will go to Special Olympics.

“Even if you don’t eat hot dogs, donations are always welcome,” Barker added.

randy.edison@gfwadvertiser

 

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