The Olympic Torch made its way through Hancock Park on Tuesday afternoon under gray skies and a light drizzle. Law enforcement officers began their annual run with the torch this week as part of the Special Olympics Summer Games Law Enforcement Torch Run. The Special Olympic Summer Games are held every year.
Law enforcement officers in Los Angeles began running with the torch Monday morning and will continue to run through Friday, when they will hand over the torch to law enforcement officers in Long Beach. The torch will be used to light the cauldron for the Special Olympics 2015 Summer Games at California State University, Long Beach on June 13.
The Special Olympics World Games, a separate event from the Summer Games and will take place in Los Angeles from July 25 through Aug. 2 at the Los Angeles Coliseum.
Officer Stephanie Nelson, from the LAPD’s Wilshire Division, ran with the torch accompanied by fellow officers west on 3rd Street, north on Highland Avenue, east on Beverly Boulevard and north on Rossmore Avenue (which becomes Vine Street). She handed off the torch to officers from the LAPD’s Hollywood Division on Melrose Avenue and Vine Street at approximately 2:24 p.m. Nelson has been participating in the torch run for several years and for her it’s personal.
“My son has special needs so I do it for him every year,” Nelson said.
Officers from the division ran with the torch through Hollywood and passed it to officers from North Hollywood Division.
Det. Brodie Seagrave, with the Hollywood Division, has been helping out with the Special Olympics since he was a teenager.
“We’re participating just from the standpoint of showing solidarity and support for the Special Olympics,” Seagrave said.
Seagrave added that the Law Enforcement Torch Run follows the Special Olympics theme of team work and cooperation between departments and divisions.
“We’re all out here running in solidarity for just the huge breakthroughs that the young men and women are making in the Special Olympics, and we’re also raising some great funds. What’s a better cause than the Special Olympics?” Seagrave said.
The summer games will feature six sports, aquatics, athletics (track and field), basketball, bocce (an Italian version of lawn bowling), golf and gymnastics. The summer games attract more than 1,100 athletes from Southern California who compete for gold, silver and bronze medals and ribbons.
Eloise Crawford, regional director of Los Angeles and San Gabriel Valley Regions, Special Olympics Southern California, said the summer games wouldn’t be what they are if it weren’t for the help and participation of law enforcement throughout Southern California.
“They’re going to raise probably $1.5 million this year through the torch run, through selling T-shirts and a whole wide range of stuff they do for us. It’s awesome,” Crawford said.
Bill Shumard, CEO and president of the Special Olympics Summer Games, said that law enforcement has raised approximately $40 million around the world for the Special Olympics.
“Law enforcement is the largest single supporter or sponsor of the Special Olympics worldwide. This year we expect approximately $1.5 million for the summer games. And it’s all grass roots,” Shumard said.
Irv Isabella, a senior lead officer in the community relations department of the Hollywood Division, is responsible for patrolling the Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue area. He has been participating in the torch run for the past several years. On Tuesday morning, Isabella got to experience his beat in a very different way.
“I like doing this because I don’t really have an opportunity to run through Hollywood Division. I don’t live out here, so to be able to run through the areas that I patrol makes it a lot more fun for me. That’s a lot of fun for me, to be able to interact with Hollywood and Highland differently than I normally would,” Isabella said.
The Special Olympics Summer Games 2015 will take place on June 13 and 14 at California State University, Long Beach. Admission and parking is free. For information, visit www.sosc.org.
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