Police officers, agents carry torch toward Special Olympics
After being carried by the Monroeville and Murrysville police departments Tuesday, a torch is making its way to light the flame at the Special Olympics Summer Games in State College.
Officers from both departments were among the 500 participating in this year's Law Enforcement Torch Run.
More than 50 teams of law enforcement officers from across the state carry the flame during the three-day, 150-mile run. Two baseball diamonds bookend the event, which began in PNC Park and will end at Medlar Field on Penn State's University Park Campus.
Sergeant Scott Kettren, who captained the team of runners from the Murrysville police, said this was the department's seventh year running the torch. Similar events are organized to support Special Olympics games across the world by the international Law Enforcement Torch Run campaign.
“A lot of times, people don't recognize the stuff that police officers do,” Kettren said. “All of the guys are here on their own time; it's a volunteer event. It's a great way for us to give back.”
In addition to relays, fundraising events are held under the Law Enforcement Torch Run banner. Kettren said it's a good way to raise money as well as awareness, and several Murrysville officers who ran Tuesday are repeat participants.
Pierre DeFelice, who captained Monroeville's team, agreed.
“It's important to invest in your community, and invest in good organizations like the Special Olympics,” he said after finishing his leg of the run. “We're happy to be here and happy to do what we can.”
A team of Pennsylvania State Police were the last to carry the torch Tuesday night, stopping outside Greensburg. The run will resume Wednesday morning and conclude for the night in Altoona.
As in years past, Penn State will host more than 2,000 athletes for the Summer Games, which kick off Thursday and end Saturday.