Sheriff’s Deputies Run to Benefit Maryland Special Olympics
(Harford County, MD) — Harford County Sheriff’s deputies will once carry the Flame of Hope on an eighteen mile journey through Harford County to benefit Maryland Special Olympics. On June 14, 2005, deputies will begin their leg of the run in Havre de Grace. Officers will carry the Flame of Hope ceremonial torch through Havre de Grace, Aberdeen, Edgewood, and Joppa ending at the Baltimore/Harford County line.
Since 1981, law enforcement agencies nationwide, including the Harford County Sheriffs Office, have participated in the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics. Police carry the Flame of Hope Torch from the four corners of Maryland, across the State, to the location where the Special Olympics are being held. Traditionally, police from the Sheriff’s Office, Maryland State Police, Aberdeen, Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Bel Air, and Havre de Grace Police Departments, receive the Torch from Cecil County law enforcement officers, and then run an 18 mile course through Harford County, eventually passing the Torch to police in Baltimore County. This event is well received by police officers and between 25 and 30 officers run the 18-mile leg every year.
Corporal Ginny Courtney, Coordinator for the event, says, “Every officer will tell you it is a great feeling to do something for Maryland’s Special Olympians. But the greatest feeling deputies will tell you is when they witness the Olympics and have the opportunity to present awards to the athletes’, Courtney said. She added, this same scenario is repeated simultaneously in almost every state across the nation.
In the early 1960's, Eunice Kennedy Shriver started a day camp for people with mental retardation at her home in Rockville, Maryland. What evolved from her commitment to children with special needs was the creation of the Special Olympics, an international sports organization for people with mental retardation and/or closely related developmental disabilities. Throughout Maryland, more than 7,000 athletes, ages 8 and above, participates in Special Olympic programs.
Sheriff R. Thomas Golding is proud of his agency’s dedication to such a worthy cause. “Sheriff’s deputies are not only committed to keeping Harford County safe, but equally as committed to being an integral part of the community, by supporting programs like Special Olympics,” Golding said. This is the twenty-first year the Sheriff’s Office has participated in the Torch Run.