‘Flame of Hope’ passes through Enfield on way to Special Olympics

By Jennifer Holloway - Staff Writer
Enfield - posted Mon., Jun. 13, 2011
Special Olympics athlete Tina Schwern carries the torch as Leg 4A of the Law Enforcement Torch Run started in Enfield on June 9. Photos by Jennifer Holloway.
Special Olympics athlete Tina Schwern carries the torch as Leg 4A of the Law Enforcement Torch Run started in Enfield on June 9. Photos by Jennifer Holloway.

The 25th annual Law Enforcement Torch Run carried the “Flame of Hope” through the streets of Enfield on its way to the Special Olympics on Thursday, June 9. Multiple legs were run simultaneously, each ending in Hartford for a rally at the state capitol that evening. On Friday, June 10, the torch was run into the opening ceremonies at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven.

Sgt. Mike Squires has been the Enfield Police Department’s Torch Run team captain for seven years. He organizes the LETR and other Special Olympics’ fundraising events like Tip-a-Cop and Cop-on-Top.

When asked why he devotes his time to these efforts, Squires replied, “If you’ve ever met someone with an intellectual disability and see the joy it brings to them, you know why’s it’s important.”

Two years ago, a friend of Squires’ had a son born with Down’s Syndrome. His involvement became even more important. Then, last year Squires traveled to California for a LETR conference, where he and other officers interacted with many Special Olympics athletes. “It made us see why we do it,” he said.

Several athletes from the Enfield Stars, the local Special Olympics team, ran with their supporters, who represented various police departments and correctional facilities. Tina Schwern and Jennifer Battige were two of those athletes. Both participate in swimming events at the Special Olympics and have run in the LETR for several years.

Leg 4A started at Target in Enfield and consisted of four sections, each about 5 miles long, ending in Glastonbury. The first group of runners passed the torch to the East Windsor Police Department at Burlington Coat Factory. Enfield Police Officer Chris Dufresne decided not to settle for 5 miles, and attempted the entire 22.5-mile leg.

“[I wanted] to join in the whole run and support them the entire way,” he said.

The Enfield Police Department will hold its third Cop-on-Top on the roof of Enfield Square beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday, June 25. The rooftop officer will come down when $5,000 has been raised. The event will also include a K-9 demonstration and face-painting for kids.


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