Westminster Police Chief Jeff Spaulding teaches Jessica Zuback,… (Staff photo by Sarah Pastrana )
Officers representing the police agencies throughout Carroll County hit the streets of Sykesville, Taneytown, Manchester, Westminster and Mount Airy on Wednesday, taking part in the annual Law Enforcement Torch Run Relay for Special Olympics Maryland.
The officers escorted the Special Olympics Flame of Hope — and a crew of hearty atheletes — in preparation for 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 departed from all parts of the county — Sykesville, Manchester, Taneytown, Mount Airy and Union Bridge and Westminster — and culminated with a run down Westminster's Main Street.
Along the way, Special Olympics athletes partnered with police officers to share the duties of carrying the torch, and also got a chance to socialize and share the good weather.
Law enforcement personnel taking part came from diverse backgrounds, including a Maryland State Police Trooper Candidate Class and Academy Class training at Sykesville; officials of the Carroll County State's Attorney's Office; staff from the Carroll County Detention Center; members of the Carroll County Crisis Response Team; and officers from the Sykesville, Springfield (Hospital), Manchester, Taneytown and Westminster police departments, among others.
The Carroll County portion of the relay was part of a statewide Torch Run. Throughout the week, thousands of volunteers are covering hundreds of miles, eventually converging on Towson — where the flames will be united for the Summer Games' Opening Ceremony at Towson University on June 8.
Howard County Capt. John Newnan served as director of the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Maryland, and said this week, "Our goal is to create inspiring moments where we can increase the communities' awareness about possibilities — not about disabilities."
For more information about Special Olympics Maryland, contact Jason Schriml at 410-242-1515, Ext. 118 or go to http://www.somd.org.