29th Annual Law Enforcement Torch Run Supports Athletes Of Special Olympics NJ

STATE– Beginning as early as 4:45 a.m. Friday morning, more than 3,000 dedicated law enforcement officers will participate in the 29th Annual Torch Run for Special Olympics New Jersey. The 26-leg journey will bring the Special Olympics New Jersey “Flame of Hope” a distance of more than 900 miles through the state to The College of New Jersey in Ewing where it will light the cauldron Friday evening and officially open the 2012 Special Olympics New Jersey Summer Games.

The goal of the Torch Run is to raise funds and awareness for Special Olympics New Jersey as the torch makes its way through more than 300 communities throughout the state. Participating law enforcement officers have been raising funds for months leading up to the event.

For the first time, the public can track the torch run in real-time on June 8 by logging on to www.TrackTheTorchNJ.org. Torch Run support vehicles will be outfitted with GPS units that will display current torch locations, enabling users to find photo opportunities along the route by showing approximate arrival times. The tool will also allow the public to plan for possible traffic delays.

“As members of the Torch Run, we have a lifelong commitment to the more than 22,000 athletes of Special Olympics New Jersey,” said Chief Robert Belfiore, retired deputy chief of the Port Authority of NY/NJ and director of the New Jersey Torch Run. “The running of the torch is symbolic of the powerful bond between Law Enforcement and the athletes. Each year, we will continue to grow our fundraising events and grassroots awareness campaigns to let the world see the great achievements and endless possibilities for success for Special Olympics athletes.”

More than 2,300 of those athletes will compete at the Summer Games at The College of New Jersey the weekend of June 8-10. Events include aquatics, bocce, gymnastics, powerlifting, softball, tennis, and track & field. Law enforcement officers will volunteer their time at the summer games by awarding medals and generally assisting in the running of the event.

In addition to the Torch Run, funds are raised year-round by law enforcement through various events that include three Polar Plunges, the Lincoln Tunnel Challenge 5K, the United Airlines Plane Pull, golf outings and many events on the local level throughout New Jersey.

The Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics New Jersey has long been a world leader in fundraising for Special Olympics. In 2011, this group raised over $2.7 million for Special Olympics New Jersey.

“Throughout the year, members of Law Enforcement dedicate countless hours to our organization,” said Marc S. Edenzon, president of Special Olympics New Jersey. “Whether raising funds for our athletes, spreading the word of the Special Olympics movement, or volunteering hands-on at athletic events, there are few groups as dedicated as our loyal Law Enforcement friends. We cannot thank them enough for their continued support.”

Visit www.sonj.org for more information on Special Olympics New Jersey.

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