Special Olympians, police bringing Torch Run through Carroll County

Officers representing the police agencies throughout Carroll County will be on the streets of Sykesville, Taneytown, Manchester, Westminster and Mount Airy on Wednesday, June 6, beginning at 8 am, taking part in the annual Law Enforcement Torch Run Relay for Special Olympics Maryland.

The officers will escort and protect the Special Olympics 'Flame of Hope' as it makes its way toward the opening of the 42nd anniversary Summer Games at Towson University, June 8-10.

This year marks the 27th anniversary of the Maryland Torch Run, a movement that began in 1986 with a handful of officers raising $5,000. It has grown into a year-round effort that involves thousands of officers and raised $3.3 million in 2011.

Six legs of the Carroll County Torch Run will depart from the corners of the county to carry the Flame of Hope to Westminster. The schedule is as follows (all times are approximate and subject to change):

• Sykesville leg — departing the Maryland Police Training Commission training facility at 8:15 a.m. Runners will include the Trooper Candidate Class, the Police Academy Class and runners from the sttate police, the Sykesville Police Department and the Springfield Police Department. Carroll County Special Olympics athletes Catherine Gardner and Jesse Shaffer will also participate.

• Hampstead/Manchester leg — departing the Manchester Police Department at 9 a.m. Runners include Hampstead and Manchester Police Department officers and staff, as well as Special Olympics athlete Woody Higgs.

• Taneytown leg — departing the Taneytown Bowling Center at 9 a.m. Runners include the Taneytown Police Department, the Carroll County State's Attorney's Office and members of the Carroll County Crisis Response Team. Special Olympics athlete Tammy Holibaugh will also be participating.

• Mount Airy leg — departing the Mount Airy Fire Department at 8 a.m. Troopers assigned to the Westminster Barrack of the Maryland State Police will run this leg, along with Special Olympics athlete Jessica Zuback.

• Union Bridge/New Windsor leg — departing the Union Bridge Fire Department at 9 a.m. Runners include the Carroll County Sheriff's Office, the Carroll County Detention Center and the Carroll County State's Attorney's Office. Special Olympics athletes Cody Watter will also participate.

• Torch Run Trek (walking leg) — departing the Carroll County Farm Museum at 10 a.m. Walkers will include representatives of the Carroll County State's Attorney's Office as well as employees from Carroll County Government and the City of Westminster. Carroll County Special Olympics Athlete Riley Snyder will also be participating in the Trek.

• Final leg — all runners from the various legs will participate in the final leg from McDaniel College to the Westminster Family Center on Longwell Avenue. Special Olympics athletes Andrew Nies and Mary Linthicum will also be participating in this leg of the event.

The Carroll County portion of the Torch Run Relay is part of a statewide Torch Run Relay with Eastern, Western, Central and Southern legs. Throughout the entire week, thousands of Torch Run volunteers will cover hundreds of miles, eventually converging on Towson where the individual flames will be united in the Final Leg Ceremony and then officers from around the state will travel the final 2.5 miles to the Opening Ceremony at Towson University.

It is there that the Flame is handed off to the Special Olympics athletes who have the honor of taking the final lap with the torch and then lighting the cauldron and officially declaring the 2012 SOMD Summer Games open.

"The Torch Run Relay represents the culmination of a year-round involvement with Special Olympics Maryland by dedicated officers from around the state," said Howard County Capt. John Newnan, director of the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Maryland, in a release about the Carroll run.

"Our goal is to create inspiring moments where we can increase the communities' awareness about possibilities, not about disabilities," he said.

For more information about Special Olympics Maryland, the Torch Run Relay and the 2012 Summer Games, contact Jason Schriml at 410-242-1515, Ext. 118 or go to http://www.somd.org.

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