As the remnants of Tropical Storm Beryl soaked the streets, Fayetteville police officers along with Fort Bragg Military Police, participated in the 2012 Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics as it made its way through Cumberland County, May 30.
According to the Special Olympics North Carolina website, the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics began in 1981 in Kansas where Wichita Police Chief Richard LaMunyon saw an urgent need to raise funds and increase awareness for Special Olympics. The idea for the Torch Run was to provide law enforcement officers with an opportunity to volunteer with Special Olympics in the communities where the officers lived and work.
“Especially today, anything at all that we (Fayetteville Police Department) can do to help kids out, whether that be mentoring or fundraising, it’s imperative we do it,” said Fayetteville Police Chief Tom Bergmine.
Bergmine received the torch from the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department in front of police department headquarters on Hay Street.
The group headed down Hay Street then continued to Person Street and onto Dunn Road, where they made their way north to the Cumberland and Harnett County border. Along the way, every runner took a turn holding the torch along the 21-mile route.
“I’m pretty proud and very grateful for this opportunity,” said Sgt.Krystal Schwartz, an investigator with the Fort Bragg Provost Marshal Office.
Schwartz was one of two people to run the entire 21 miles. John Somerindyke, an FPD patrol sergeant, also completed the 21 miles that took runners to the county line.
“I didn’t plan on running so far, but the weather was good and those Army guys up front really kept me motivated,” said Somerindyke.
Fort Bragg MPs were not the only law enforcement contingency to participate in a torch run. On May 29, the Fort Bragg Special Reaction Team, representing the installation’s Provost Marshall Office, participated in the Law Enforcement Torch /Run for Special Olympics in Moore County.
The run, which started in the Moore County town of Pinehurst and ending at the Lee County line, was 18 miles.
The torch was then passed to runners from Lee County law enforcement. The four participants completed the entire 18-mile course which began at 9:15 a.m. and crossed the Lee County line at 12:35 p.m.
According to the Special Olympics North Carolina website, each summer, law enforcement officials carry the Flame of Hope across the state in the Torch Run, culminating in the lighting of the cauldron to officially open the Special Olympics North Carolina Summer Games in Raleigh, N.C.
The 2,000 mile, 15 day relay involves more than 2,500 law enforcement officers and personnel representing more than 200 law enforcement agencies across North Carolina