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by Trinity Gruenberg

trinity@inhnews.com

Members of law enforcement in Wadena County participated in the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics (LETR) on June 18.

The event is to raise awareness and funds for Special Olympics across the globe. Participants can run, walk, bike or skate as a guardian for the “Flame of Hope” torch in honor of Special Olympics athletes. This is the world’s largest fundraiser for the Special Olympics bringing in $600 million  with the help of thousands of law enforcement agencies and 97,000 personnel.

The torch was handed off Tuesday morning from the Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office to the Wadena County crew comprised of members from the Wadena County Sheriff’s Office, Wadena Police Department, Todd-Wadena Community Corrections and the Verndale Police Department who carried the torch to Staples. The torch was then taken to Baxter and handed off for the next leg of its journey.

The race started in five sections of the state: Moorhead, Bemidji, Duluth, Mankato and Rochester. A torch was ran in to Duluth from Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. All the paths converged in St. Paul on June 21 at the Summer Games Celebration Ceremonies.

The Torch Run began in 1981 when Wichita, Kansas, Police Chief Richard LaMunyon saw an urgent need to raise funds for, and increase awareness of, Special Olympics.

The idea for the run was to provide local law enforcement officers with an opportunity to volunteer with Special Olympics in the communities where the officers lived and worked.

After three successful years in Kansas, Chief LaMunyon presented his idea to the International Association of Chiefs of Police, which endorsed Special Olympics as its official charity through the Torch Run.

The first run in Minnesota was organized in 1986. Today it is supported by the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association, Minnesota State Patrol Association and Minnesota Fraternal Order of Police.

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