Local officers to participate in torch run to raise money for Special Olympics Maine
MADAWASKA, Maine — The Fort Kent to Madawaska leg of the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Maine will begin in Fort Kent early Wednesday morning before reaching Madawaska late morning.
Some 700 members of law enforcement and supporters participate in the annual event each year with groups starting in the north and south of the state to run toward the University of Maine in Orono where the summer Special Olympics will begin on Friday, June 8.
Participants find sponsors to support them on their respective legs to raise money for the Special Olympics. The Law Enforcement Torch Run raised close to $400,000 statewide last year, according to Lisa Bird, the liaison law enforcement torch run director.
The Madawaska Police Department raised $1,564 this year, the most since 2015. In 2011, officers raised $2,028 — the most raised overall since the beginning of the run in Madawaska in 1991. The largest donor group in Madawaska is the Knights of Columbus Council 2638.
Local police counterparts from southern Maine started their run in Sanford on Tuesday and will pass off the torch along various legs until reaching Orono on Friday. The northern leg will begin with volunteers in Fort Kent at about 8:45 a.m. Wednesday before reaching Frenchville where the torch will be passed along to members of the Madawaska Police Department and other supporters.
Participation for Madawaska includes eight volunteers from the Madawaska Police Department, 12 Customs and Border Protection volunteers with 11 who are Madawaska based and one from Van Buren. Some of the volunteers will act as drivers in front of, or following, the runner for safety and to provide water.
“It’s nice to help the Special Olympics, it’s been going on so long. It’s nice to see the officers get involved,” said Debra Roy Caron, administrative assistant to the Madawaska Police Department.
As the torch enters Madawaska, likely sometime between 11 a.m. and noon, representatives of St. John Valley Associates, which provides community and residential support to adults with intellectual disabilities, will head to Tim Hortons where their clients and Special Olympic athletes will have a chance to hold the torch with the officers who are participating in the run.
This year, after the torch reaches the police department, a member of Caribou law enforcement will drive the torch down to Caribou where another group will continue the run, until it finds its way to the University of Maine in Orono on Friday for the opening ceremonies of the Special Olympics of Maine.
Follow Morgan Mitchell on Twitter @TheMaineMorgan