By Morgan Pilz, Staff Writer
(May 31, 2018) Law enforcement officers representing Worcester County and beyond will take part in the annual Law Enforcement Torch Run Relay for Special Olympics Maryland, on Monday, June 4.
Participants are encouraged to wear a Law Enforcement Torch Run T-Shirt, which costs $15 and are available for purchase at the Ocean City Police Department Public Safety Building on 65th Street, with all proceeds going to Special Olympics Maryland. There will also be T-shirts and hats available the morning of the run, but sizes are not guaranteed.
This local relay event is part of a much larger effort which is split between four different sections of Maryland – Eastern, Western, Central and Southern – and throughout the week, thousands of Torch Run volunteers will cover hundreds of miles, eventually arriving in Towson where the individual flames will be united in the final leg ceremony.
“The run supports the Special Olympics of Maryland,” said Lindsay Richard, public relations specialist for the Ocean City Police Department. “Many of our officers have been very active within the Special Olympics of Maryland organization, and this run just supports that. So, we see a lot of our officers and community members participate to support that effort.”
The festivities will begin at 8 a.m. on the Boardwalk at 21st Street, with Sgt. Dennis Eade discussing the history and purpose of the run. Special Olympics athletes will speak as well. Sgt. Eade has been participating in the run since 1997.
The actual Torch Run Relay is an awareness campaign to highlight united law enforcement efforts to benefit Special Olympics and create excitement for the Special Olympics Maryland Summer Games each year. This year’s event will take place at Towson University, June 8-10.
“This will be my 21st year of involvement in the Ocean City Torch Run,” Sgt. Eade said. “I’ve done it every single year that I’ve been here as both a seasonal police officer and a full-time police officer.
“Initially, I did it because it was an opportunity for camaraderie and to be with other police officers and give back to the community,” Sgt. Eade added. “But once I got involved and I saw the true meaning and the true purpose behind it and got to interact with the Special Olympics athletes who benefit from this program, it was then really, why I participated in this event.”
While the relay is described as a “run,” participants are not required to run, and are encouraged to join the event however they can.
“The [first] Maryland Torch Run began in 1986,” Richard said. “Typically, we see upwards of 100 people participate in the run, and if you don’t want to run people can ride their bike. There’s also a tram that follows us so you can ride in the tram.
“It’s not just for runners,” she added. “It’s for anyone that wants to support Special Olympics Maryland.”
The general public is also invited to participate in the event.
“When you interact and get close to Special Olympic athletes themselves, then it’s at that moment you find out what you’re doing is so important and why you’re doing it and why it’s so important to the Special Olympics athletes,” Sgt. Eade said. “For anybody who is interested in supporting the cause, just come out and see how happy, and how grateful, and how appreciative these special Olympics athletes are for this opportunity.”
For more information, contact the Ocean City Police Department at 410-723-6610.