Special Olympics torch makes its way across Vernon

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Vernon - posted Thu., Jun. 9, 2011
Vernon Police Officer Kate Rooney high-fives her son Hunter, 6, as she nears the finish line of the Vernon leg of the Special Olympics of Connecticut Law Enforcement Torch Run on June 9. Photos by Steve Smith.
Vernon Police Officer Kate Rooney high-fives her son Hunter, 6, as she nears the finish line of the Vernon leg of the Special Olympics of Connecticut Law Enforcement Torch Run on June 9. Photos by Steve Smith.

The Special Olympics torch made its way through several local towns on June 8, including Vernon and Tolland.

Law enforcement officers, Special Olympics Connecticut athletes, and hundreds of volunteers carried the torch through 100 Connecticut cities and towns, on the way to its final destination at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven, to kick off the 42nd Annual Summer Games at the opening ceremony on June 10.

Leg four of the torch run went from Windham to Hartford, crossing through Tolland on Route 31 on its way through Vernon, and then passing off to Manchester on Route 30 near Connecticut Golf Land.

About 15 Vernon police officers ran the more than 5 miles through Vernon in 90-plus-degree heat, and finished ahead of schedule, arriving at the rendezvous point with Manchester PD about five to 10 minutes before expected.

Officer Kate Rooney carried the torch for the VPD through Vernon.

“It was hot, but it was a good event,” Rooney said, after she was greeted by her sons Hunter, 6, and Jake, 4, at Connecticut Golf Land.

Officer Steve Langlais said many cars honked and local citizens cheered the group along the route.

“It shows that we help with community projects” Langlais said, “and the Special Olympics is a great project, and that we're involved in more than just our day-to-day operations. We actually reach out and provide charities with hard work.”

Despite the heat, three of the VPD's more seasoned runners continued on into Manchester.

The Law Enforcement Torch Run® (LETR) for Special Olympics Connecticut is one of the movement's largest grass-roots fundraisers and public awareness vehicles.

This year-round program involves law enforcement from across the state who volunteer their time to raise awareness and funds through events such as Tip-a-Cop, Cop-on-Top, Jail N’ Bail, etc. In 2010, the Torch Run raised more than $500,000 for SOCT.

For more information, visit www.soct.org.


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