Federal Way police, mayor raise torch for Special Olympics | Slideshow

If you noticed a group of runners today striding down Pacific Highway South, sandwiched between police vehicles, you witnessed the Law Enforcement Torch Run Campaign for Special Olympics Washington in action.

Federal Way Mayor Jim Ferrell, Police Chief Andy Hwang, Deputy Chief Kyle Sumpter, Officer Bryan Klingele, Klingele’s daughter and officials with Homeland Security’s Federal Protective Service started their run at approximately 2 p.m. that would continue on for seven miles until they passed the torch to another police department.

“I am really proud of our people volunteering their own time today to raise funds and to bring about awareness of Special Olympics,” Ferrell said. “We are glad to participate with other law enforcement agencies in the state to make a difference for a worthy cause.”

The runners will pass off the Special Olympics “Flame of Hope” torch to officers in participating jurisdictions until the run is complete at Joint Base Lewis McChord, where the 2014 Summer Games will take place at 7:30 p.m. tonight and goes until June 1. The torch run started in Kent early Friday morning.

The Federal Way Police Department has participated in the torch run campaign for about 10 years, actively raising money with a Federal Way Red Robin fundraiser and an annual chili cook-off.

“It certainly is a worthy cause to provide funding and support for people with disabilities,” Hwang said. “We really appreciate the community support.”

Federal Way Officer Stacy Eckert said the cause is especially worthy to her because not only have her children volunteered for the campaign until they were four years old, but she spent time as a school resource officer at Decatur High School and she had students who were Special Olympic athletes.

“It’s something that I’m passionate about,” Eckert said, noting although she’s been the event coordinator for about six years, it’s a department effort.

Eckert said throughout the decade they’ve participated in the torch run campaign, they’ve been able to raise approximately $20,000 total. Each year it can vary between $3,000 to $7,500.

The torch run campaign funds athletic programs for Special Olympic athletes year-round.

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