Editor’s Note: Patch will update this gallery throughout the afternoon.
Police officers across the state withstood rising temperatures to participate in the 25th annual Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Thursday.
Thursday marked the second day of the three day run, as the “Flame of Hope” passes through 100 Connecticut towns on the way to Southern Connecticut State University where the 42nd Annual Special Olympics Summer Games will kick off with an opening ceremony at 7 p.m. on Friday, June 10.
Five separate legs of the run made their way through the state, with the 5th arriving in Canton minutes before 2 p.m. Ten Canton officers and K.C. Witkos, son of Sgt. Kevin Witkos, participated in the race, which made its way along Route 44.
At the Green on Route 44 in Canton, the officers were joined by 12 participants from FAVARH, the Canton-based organization that assists those with intellectual, physical and developmental disabilities.
Included in the group were four athletes who will participate in the summer Special Olympics games. Daniel Widing of Avon, athlete and a global messenger with Special Olympics, said it’s a great partnership.
“They support each other,” he said.
On a separate leg, Bristol officers passed the torch to Farmington on Route 6 on the Bristol line. The volunteers included Farmington police officers, firefighters, a dispatcher, Town Manager Kathy Eagen and Director of Fire and Rescue Services Mary-Ellen Harpert. The group will turn up Route 10, then up Route 4 to the UConn Health Center, where the torch will pass to West Hartford officers.
officers participating in the Torch run included Chief Strillacci and Patrol Officer Dan Moffo on the the Albany Ave leg. Participants on the Farmington Ave. leg included Officer Rob Riccobon, Capt. Joe LaSata, Lt. Jeff Rose, Det. Todd Myers, Det. Dawn Lascari, Capt. Don Melanson (and his son), Det. Gary Ciarleglio, Sgt. Mike Perruccio (with his nephew), Det. Tony Anderl, and Officer Leigh Cogle.
Connecticut had its first Torch Run in 1986, with a few legs converging onto the campus of the University of Connecticut in Storrs. The run then became a statewide event involving several more cities and towns. Since its inception, the Connecticut Law Enforcement Torch Run has grown into the largest grass roots fundraising event for Special Olympics Connecticut.