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Torch Run fuels Special Olympics Washington

Federal Way law enforcement personnel participate in a torch run to benefit Special Olympics Washington on June 4. The group jogged from South 272nd Street down Pacific Highway to South 373rd Street holding the Flame of Hope.  - Jacinda Howard, The Mirror
Federal Way law enforcement personnel participate in a torch run to benefit Special Olympics Washington on June 4. The group jogged from South 272nd Street down Pacific Highway to South 373rd Street holding the Flame of Hope.
— image credit: Jacinda Howard, The Mirror

In what has become an annual tradition, Federal Way Police Department members jogged down Pacific Highway South in support of Special Olympics.

The officers participated in the Law Enforcement Torch Run on June 4. The run is a fundraiser, with proceeds going to Special Olympics Washington. The run takes place in relay form. Law enforcement teams from across the state complete a leg of the run carrying a Flame of Hope. Federal Way took hold of the flame in Des Moines and ran the torch from South 272nd Street to South 373rd Street, where they handed off the flame to the Milton police.

The team was escorted down Pacific Highway South by officers on motorcycles and in police cruisers. Lights flashed and an R.V. with a Special Olympics banner followed the runners.

The Federal Way police have participated in the run for at least the past decade. There's been a long relationship between law enforcement and Special Olympics in Washington, assistant police chief Andy Hwang said.

"So many of our people work really hard to benefit Special Olympics," Hwang said.

The Flame of Hope ended its journey across Washington state at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, where the 2010 Special Olympics Washington Summer Games commenced. The games took place June 4-6.

More than 2,500 athletes, representing more than 240 Washington teams, participated in the games. Athletes competed in track and field, power-lifting, soccer, cycling and swimming, according to the Special Olympics Washington website at www.sowa.org. The swimming events took place at Federal Way's Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center.

Money from the Torch Run was raised through "Adopt-A-Cop" sponsorships, local fundraising efforts, corporate sponsorships and Torch Run T-shirts. Torch Runs take place around the world in support of Special Olympics. As a whole, the runs raised $34 million for Special Olympics programs around the world in 2008, according to www.specialolympics.org. That same year, more than 85,000 law enforcement officers carried the Flame of Hope across 35 nations, according to the website.

The Torch Run is one of a handful of events Federal Way police hold in support of Special Olympics Washington. Recently the department held a pancake breakfast with proceeds going to Special Olympics Washington. Police proceeds from the annual Chili Cook-off between the fire and police departments go to benefit Special Olympics, as do proceeds from the annual Red Robin Tip-A-Cop event.

"Our agency has been very active in raising awareness and funds for Washington Special Olympics," Hwang said.

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