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Special Olympics Torch Run comes to Two Harbors

Officers, athletes and civilians carry the “Flame of Hope” through the streets of the Twin Cities during the 2015 Law Enforcement Torch Run. The Torch Run is making its debut on the North Shore June 21 in Two Harbors. (Photo courtesy of Special Olympics Minnesota)

Those who happen to be in Two Harbors on the morning of June 21 might end up seeing a few law enforcement officers huffing and puffing around the city streets. On that day, members of the Two Harbors Police Department, Lake County Sheriff's Office and even some conservation officers from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will be running from Burlington Bay through downtown Two Harbors and back over to the Lake County Arena in an effort to raise money for Special Olympics Minnesota (SOMN) through the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics.

The event is part of the "Final Leg," a multi-day event where law enforcement representatives relay the "Flame of Hope" more than 2,000 miles across Minnesota to the Celebration Ceremonies for SOMN's State Summer Games in Apple Valley. The Torch run is the largest grassroots fundraising and public awareness effort to benefit the Special Olympics.

The event started in 1981 in Wichita, Kan., as an opportunity for local officers to volunteer with Special Olympics in the communities where they live and work. Since 1981, the event has grown to have participants in all 50 U.S. states, 10 Canadian provinces and in 32 countries worldwide. SOMN offers children and adults with intellectual disabilities year-round sports training and competition.

THPD officer Ken Anderson has been working to organize the event with other local agencies and so far the efforts to promote the Torch Run, its first time coming to Lake County, has been resounding.

"It's a great opportunity to showcase our community," Anderson said. "So far, most of our effort has been word of mouth, but the support from the community, businesses and local government has been phenomenal."

In addition to the run around Two Harbors, which will total about 4 miles, the officers will join other supporters and community members at the Lake County Arena for a run, walk or bike ride of about a mile over to the Two Harbors Fire Hall using the walking trail. There they will have a lunch and silent auction before the torch makes its way down to Duluth.

Anderson said a donation of $25 will purchase a uniform for an athlete, while $50 will help put a child through a 14-week Young Athletes inclusive class and $200 will pay for a team's transportation to the Summer Games competition. A gift of $500 or more will help award scholarships to athletes who need financial assistance to compete.

This is the first year law enforcement agencies in Lake County have participated in the Torch Run, but Anderson hopes the event can become an annual affair. What's more, all the money raised by the Torch Run and silent auction will stay in Minnesota to help SOMN athletes.

In addition to donations, Anderson has T-shirts and hats available for purchase for $15 each at the THPD in the Lake County Law Enforcement Center. For more information about the run, to make a donation or make a purchase, call the THPD at (218) 834-5566 or email Anderson at ken.anderson@co.lake.mn.us.

Jamey Malcomb

Jamey Malcomb started as a reporter for the Lake County News-Chronicle in August 2015. Malcomb is a native of North Carolina and holds a bachelor's degree in English and history from the George Washington University and a master's degree in education from George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. Malcomb moved to Minnesota in July 2012 and previously worked as a sports clerk and news assistant at the Duluth News Tribune. He is the beat writer for the Lake County Board of Commissioners, Silver Bay City Council and high school sports in Lake County. 

(218) 834-2141
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