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Join the Park Ridge Police Department for the 2013 Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run


            The Park Ridge Police Department will be joining agencies across Illinois and will carry the torch for a leg of it's journey during this year's Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run this Sunday, June 9, 2013. The torch will arrive at approximately 10:00 am at Dempster and Rand. Park Ridge officers assume responsibility for the torch and will escort it to Dempster and Milwaukee where they will turn it over to Niles police officers. Anyone is welcome to join the run in support of Special Olympics.
Contact person for the department is Officer Julie Genualdi 
What is the Law Enforcement Torch Run®?
            The Law Enforcement Torch Run® is the single largest year-round fundraising event benefiting Special Olympics Illinois. The annual intrastate relay and its various fundraising projects have two goals: to raise money and to gain awareness for the athletes who participate in Special Olympics Illinois. The Law Enforcement Torch Run® has raised more than $22.025 million over 25 years while increasing awareness of Special Olympics Illinois athletes and their accomplishments.
            Approximately 3,000 officers representing every branch of law enforcement across the state from local police officers to FBI agents will carry the Flame of Hope nearly 1,500 miles, running through thousands of Illinois communities via 23 different legs (routes) to its final destination – the Opening Ceremonies of the Special Olympics Illinois Summer Games each June in Normal.
History of Illinois Law Enforcement Torch Run®
            The Law Enforcement Torch Run® began in Illinois in 1986. That first year, fewer than 100 runners carried the torch along five legs: North (starting in South Beloit), South (starting in Cairo), West (starting in Quincy), East (starting in Danville) and the city of Chicago.
            Illinois' first Torch Run raised just $14,039.93, but the seed was planted for future growth. The Torch Run raised $500,000 in Illinois in 1997. Illinois easily surpassed the $1 million mark in 2002 and raised more than $2.9 million in 2010, making it the second highest grossing Torch Run program in the world.
History of the Law Enforcement Torch Run®
            The Torch Run began in 1981, when Wichita, Kansas, Police Chief Richard LaMunyon saw a need to raise funds for, and awareness of, Kansas Special Olympics. LaMunyon felt that Special Olympics was a fitting cause to unite local law enforcement officers, giving them closer ties to the community and to a very special population.
            After three years of success, LaMunyon presented his highly successful Torch Run program to the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), whose enthusiastic support enabled the Torch Run to expand to nine states. Two years later, The Good Sam Club, a national organization of recreation vehicle owners, volunteered to provide massive logistical assistance as a National Support Sponsor. As the Torch Run continued to grow, it took on another dimension: International Games Torch Run. In 1987 the sponsors and organizers created the “Final Leg” – a Torch Run extravaganza in which law enforcement representatives carried the Special Olympics Torch from Chicago, the site of the first Special Olympics Games in 1968, to the 7th International Summer Special Olympics Games in South Bend, Indiana. Now, every two years there is a special Torch Run leading to the Special Olympics World Summer Games and World Winter Games (organized in alternating years). These Torch Runs are comprised of runners from every state and participating country.

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