- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Make your steps count this June in the Charles County Sheriff’s Office’s Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics.
The CCSO will host the Torch Run on June 7 to raise money for Special Olympics Maryland. Three routes a 4-mile route for runners and a 5-mile or 2.5-mile route for walkers will depart Texas Roadhouse in La Plata at 9 a.m. and return there for lunch from the restaurant and other local businesses, including Chick-fil-A. Registration is not required, but participants must purchase a Torch Run T-shirt or hat and arrive at Texas Roadhouse by 8:45 a.m. to participate in a group photo.
“This is a really exciting event in Charles County. We hold a lot of fundraisers at the sheriff’s office for various community groups but the Torch Run really stands out because so many people actively take part in it. To see that crowd running or walking around La Plata is really awe-inspiring,” Sheriff Rex W. Coffey (D) said in a CCSO news release. “We’re not only raising money for Special Olympics but we’re also raising awareness of this organization’s exceptional athletes.”
Hundreds of runners and walkers from the CCSO and the community are expected to attend, and U.S. Marines from the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head Division, will lead the runners behind a specially selected torch bearer. Special Olympics athletes and their families also will take part in the event. Employees of businesses along the Torch Run route already have begun to purchase T-shirts and plan to cheer the participants on as they pass by during the run.
Charles County’s Torch Run is one of multiple Torch Runs in Maryland, all of which converge at Towson University to light the cauldron at the Special Olympics Maryland Summer Games opening ceremony. The statewide fundraiser raises millions of dollars for Special Olympics Maryland each year and for more than a half-decade now, the CCSO has earned the distinction as the top fundraising organization in the state. At the Special Olympics Maryland 2012 Law Enforcement Torch Run kickoff in March, officials announced that, for the sixth consecutive year, the CCSO sold more T-shirts than any other fundraising organization. The CCSO sold $20,610 in T-shirts in 2011, more than three times the second-place agency, the Maryland Department of Corrections, which sold $6,000 in T-shirts. The CCSO sells T-shirts for the Torch Run throughout the year and during special events like Tip-a-Cop at Red Robin and Cops on Rooftops at local Chick-fil-A restaurants.
Since 2006, the CCSO has sold more than $100,000 worth of Torch Run T-shirts and Charles County Public Schools has accounted for about half of the sales. Superintendent James E. Richmond and the Charles County Board of Education “have been very supportive of the Torch Run and are a huge part of our success,” Sgt. Gus Proctor, who coordinates the CCSO’s Torch Run activities, said in the release. “Teachers, administrators and students purchase T-shirts even though many of them are unable to participate because the Torch Run is held on a school day. It really shows their dedication to this cause, and that kind of support makes me really proud to be part of this community.”
Some students have the fortune of taking part in the Torch Run. For the past few years, Cpl. Gary Holt, a school resource officer assigned to Piccowaxen Middle School, has arranged for a Torch Run field trip for a group of his students.
Torch Run shirts are $10 and available in sizes from small to XXXL. Hats are $10. Contact Sgt. Proctor at 240-299-5207 or firstname.lastname@example.org to purchase a T-shirt or hat. To make a monetary donation instead, mail it to Charles County Sheriff’s Office, Attn. Sgt. Proctor, P.O. Box 189, La Plata, MD 20646 and be sure to indicate the donation is for Special Olympics Maryland. Local businesses that would like to donate services can contact Proctor.