South Windsor Police Department runs a leg of the 2013 Law Enforcement Torch Run

By Christian Mysliwiec - Staff Writer
South Windsor - posted Fri., Jun. 7, 2013
Sgt. Mike Dobler of the SWPD carried the Special Olympics 'Flame of Hope' during the 2013 Law Enforcement Torch Run. Photos by Christian Mysliwiec.
Sgt. Mike Dobler of the SWPD carried the Special Olympics 'Flame of Hope' during the 2013 Law Enforcement Torch Run. Photos by Christian Mysliwiec.

A cool respite from unseasonably hot weather was the perfect backdrop to the 2013 Law Enforcement Torch Run, which passed through South Windsor on Thursday, June 6. Runners from the South Windsor Police Department participated in the leg of the run, which was one of five that converged at the State Capitol in Hartford, concluding the torch run’s second day. The final leg, on Friday, June 7, brought the Special Olympics “Flame of Hope” to the opening ceremonies of the 2013 Connecticut Special Olympics Summer Games at Southern Connecticut State University.

The Law Enforcement Torch Run is the largest grass-roots fundraiser and public awareness event for the Special Olympics.

Children from the Mother Goose Pre-School and Full-Day Kindergarten, seated near the edge of Ellington Road, cheered as the run passed by en route to the South Windsor Fire Department. The run then continued past Pleasant Valley Elementary School. The entire school emptied to cheer the runners on as they made their way to the Bissell Bridge, to pass on the torch in Windsor.

Dan Rezende and Roseanne Sapula, coaches for the South Windsor Special Olympics, cheered with the Mother Goose students and staff as the runners and their police escort passed by. “It means a great deal to the team,” said Rezende. “It’s the kick-off to the state competition, which is the biggest day of the year for them.”

"It brings awareness to the South Windsor community,” said Sapula, who was also the leading fundraiser at the 2013 Penguin Plunge, that benefited Special Olympics Connecticut. “Having been a big winner of the Penguin Plunge because of the support of the South Windsor community, for me it’s just the icing on the cake.”

Twenty-four athletes from the South Windsor Special Olympics team competed at the state Special Olympics. “They’ve been practicing every Saturday, so they’re ready,” said Sapula.

Marc Mercadante, regional director of the Special Olympics Connecticut, was on hand to ensure the run was on schedule. He applauded the participation of the SWPD runners. “The torch run could not be done without the safety personnel,” he said.

Agent Ron Littell of the SWPD is the lead organizer for Special Olympics fundraisers on behalf of the department, and was among the runners. “It’s a great event and I’m glad the public supports us,” said Littell. Littell organizes the regional Penguin Plunge at Crystal Lake, Ellington, and his next fundraiser will be the Tip-A-Cop event at the Red Onion Restaurant, 855 Sullivan Ave., on Thursday, June 20, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Because of Littell's leadership, SWPD has been the leading Special Olympics Connecticut fundraiser for the past two years. "We're trying for that triple crown this year," he said.

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