Officers Carry “Flame of Hope” During Annual Torch Run Relay

Torch Run begins June 1 and ends at Summer Games on June 12

LONG BEACH, Calif., May 27, 2010 – Law enforcement officers, Special Olympics athletes and representatives from government agencies will carry the “Flame of Hope” as a part of the 2010 Law Enforcement Torch Run®.

Beginning on June 1 and consisting of three distinct legs, the torch relay will feature three torches that officers will carry on separate paths throughout Southern California. All three will descend upon the campus of California State University, Long Beach, home of the 2010 Special Olympics Summer Games on June 12 and 13. The three torches will be unified into one torch that will be used to light the cauldron at the Opening Ceremony to symbolize the start of the Summer Games.

For two weeks prior to the start of the Sumer Games, the “Flame of Hope” will be making stops in cities throughout the San Gabriel and San Fernando Valleys, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Diego, San Luis Obispo and Ventura while en route to Cal State Long Beach.

The Law Enforcement Torch Run consists of three distinct legs, each with a different starting point and following a unique path. Below are the starting dates and cities for each Leg of the Torch Run:

      - Southern Leg: Tuesday, June 1, 9:30a.m., Chula Vista – Torch Lighting Ceremony at the Chula Vista Police Department Memorial Wall

      - Central Leg: Monday, June 7, 7 a.m., Wilmington – Tesoro Refinery Parking lot

      - Northern Leg: Monday, June 7, 8 a.m., Paso Robles – Paso Robles City Park

The Northern Leg of the torch run will make a special stop at Pacific Park at the Santa Monica Pier on June 10 at 5 p.m. Arriving at the pier on a Coast Guard boat, the torch will be hoisted up from the water and onto the pier where it will be carried and secured to the Pacific Wheel. The torch will burn brightly for four days at the base of the 85’ tall Ferris wheel. Additionally, the wheel will feature a spectacular flame emblem in place of its usual multi-colored LED lights. In addition, Pacific Park is allowing free entrance and rides to all police and fire personnel on June 10 from 5 to 11 p.m.

In all, officers from nearly 300 different law enforcement agencies and the military will take part in carrying the torch over 1,500 miles. The Law Enforcement Torch Run® is the largest grassroots fundraiser and public awareness vehicle for Special Olympics worldwide. In 2009, officers raised more than $900,000 for Special Olympics Southern California. In addition to the Torch Run, money is also raised through activities such as Tip-A-Cops®, Polar Plunges®, plane pulls, golf tournaments, and 5/10k runs.

“We would not be able to provide the level of services to our athletes that we do without the support of law enforcement,” said Bill Shumard, President and CEO of Special Olympics Southern California. “We can always count on the officers to bring great attitude and morale to our cause. And our athletes look up to them as heroes.”

The Law Enforcement Torch Run® for 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 international association of Chiefs of Police is the founding law enforcement organization.

About Special Olympics: Special Olympics Southern California has been changing lives through the power of sport for more than 40 years. Special Olympics offers opportunities for children and adults with intellectual disabilities to participate in year-round sports training and competition. In addition to Law Enforcement Torch Run, Special Olympics Southern California appreciates the support of its Mission Partners: KTLA, Summit Entertainment, Toyota, The Vons Foundation, and Walmart. For more information about how to compete, volunteer, coach or donate to Special Olympics Southern California, visit www.sosc.org.

Media Contacts

Kim Pine, kpine@sosc.org, 562.354.2611; cell 562.221.3787

Richard Fernandez, rfernandez@sosc.org, 562.354.2602; cell 310.384.9409

Created by the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation. Authorized and Accredited by
Special Olympics, Inc. for the Benefit of Persons with Intellectual Disabilities.

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