Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Bethany Helwig
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Passing the torch

Flame of Hope for Special Olympics passes through Moose Lake


Bethany Helwig

A group of volunteers with a police escort head out on Arrowhead Lane.

The torch-bearer, volunteers, and officers from the Moose Lake Police Department and Washington County Sheriff's Office gathered at Veterans' Park just before noon on June 20 to prepare for the next leg of the Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR). Shortly after a group photo, the team headed out onto Arrowhead Lane complete with police escort to carry the "Flame of Hope" on its journey to the Twin Cities for the Special Olympics.

The LETR began in 1981 when Wichita, Kansas Police Chief Richard LaMunyon created the Torch Run. It was meant as a way to help law enforcement be more active in the community and support Special Olympics Kansas. A couple years later, the program was endorsed by the International Association of Chiefs of Police and has become the largest fundraising group for Special Olympics.

Bethany Helwig

Volunteers and police gather for a group photo before heading out on the torch run.

"What started in a flicker of hope for Special Olympics has now become a roaring flame of stability for Special Olympics athletes worldwide," Chief LaMunyon once said.

The torch is carried by Guardians of the Flame-Special Olympics athletes and law enforcement members-to the opening ceremonies. This year Minnesota actually had multiple Torch Run "Legs" which all led to the Twin Cities metro area. Legs started from Rochester, Mankato, Moorhead, Bemidji, and Thunder Bay. The North Shore leg made stops in Duluth, Moose Lake, Askov, Sandstone, Hinckley, and Pine City.

More than 75 law enforcement agencies participated in or assisted with the Torch Run this year.

The 2019 Summer Games for Special Olympics Minnesota was held June 21-23 at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. This is the 50th annual year for Special Olympics since its inception in 1969.


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