SANFORD, Maine — The Maine Law Enforcement Torch Run was kicked off Tuesday morning in Sanford. More than 600 members of Maine law enforcement will participate in the run across the state of Maine June 4-7, carrying the Flame of Hope to raise funds for and awareness of Special Olympics Maine.
The run kicked off Tuesday morning in Sanford and starts up again early Wednesday morning in Kittery. The run will end in a brief final leg at approximately 4:30 p.m. Friday, June 7, at the University of Maine Orono.
The Torch Run began in 1981 in Wichita, Kansas, by Police Chief Richard LaMunyon, according to a press release from Special Olympics Maine. He knew there was an urgent need for funds at Special Olympics and he also wanted to get his officers involved in the community. After three years of very successful runs, LaMunyon took his idea to the International Association of Chiefs of Police and received enthusiastic support. To this day the run is sponsored by the IACP. In 1984 the Torch Run was brought to Maine by then Chief Robert Bell. Today the run is held in all 50 states and more than 100 countries.
The Law Enforcement Torch Run is one of Maine’s largest fundraising events for Special Olympics. Officers began in Berwick at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday, and ran the torch to Kittery. On Wednesday the torch will leave Kittery at 7 a.m. and travel to Scarborough, where it will leave at 1 p.m. and travel to Brunswick. It will leave Camden at 8 a.m. Wednesday and end in West Bath, and from Bridgton at 8 a.m. to end in Brunswick. The other leg on Wednesday will leave Fort Kent at 8 a.m. and end in Caribou. On Thursday, the torch will go from Caribou to Mars Hill, and at noon leave Monticello for Houlton. It also will leave Rumford at 6 a.m. and go to Farmington, leaving there at 8 a.m. to go to Skowhegan; and from Brunswick at 10 a.m. to Waterville, and from Greene-Lewiston line, both ending in Augusta. On Friday, a leg will leave Bar Harbor at 7 a.m. and end in Ellsworth. Legs will leave Ellsworth at 11 a.m., Millinocket at 6:30 a.m. and Skowhegan at 6:30 a.m., all ending in Orono.
Other legs during the torch run will include from Calais to Machias and from Gorham to Portland. All legs will culminate at approximately 4:30 p.m. Friday, June 7, at the University of Maine Orono, steam plant, and then continue in the parade and opening ceremonies of the Special Olympics Maine Summer Games at 6 p.m.
Last year’s Torch Run raised more than $300,000 for Special Olympics Maine, helping the organization meet its more than $1 million dollar annual budget.
For more information on the Maine Law Enforcement Torch Run please call Lisa Bird at SOME at 879-0489 or email Lisa at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her on her cell at 839-5578.