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Law enforcement bears torch for Special Olympics

Sussex County Post - 6/12/2018

GEORGETOWN - The pace was certainly no threat to any world record.

Then again, it isn't a race, but a collective effort in Delaware law enforcement's ongoing support of Special Olympics Delaware and the several thousand children and adults with physical or intellectual disabilities it serves.

Run, sweat and cheers were the order of the morning Thursday, June 7 in Georgetown as dozens of local and state police officers teamed to run legs and take steps in the 32nd Annual Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics.

The central Sussex County leg stepped off at 7:30 a.m. from The Circle in Georgetown. Participants included representatives from Millsboro, Selbyville and Georgetown police departments as well as Delaware State Police.

"We have 10 participating, and we've got some support personnel here as well," said Georgetown Police Chief R.L. Hughes. "So, nearly our entire agency is involved."

"And, of course, the first mile is the memorial mile for Chad Spicer," said Chief Hughes.

Traditionally, the mile run from The Circle to U.S. 113 north of Georgetown is annually dedicated in memory of Chad Spicer, a Georgetown police patrolman who

died in the line of duty in September of 2009.

Patrolman Spicer's daughter, Aubrey, and mother, Ruth Ann Spicer, led the runners on the memorial mile in Georgetown Police Department's Guardians of Georgetown 4-wheeler.

Delaware's Torch Run is a three-day event. It began in Rehoboth BeachJune 6 with a gala sendoff. It culminates Friday afternoon when the Flame of Hope is carried into the Bob Carpenter Center in Newark for the opening ceremony of Delaware's 2018 Special Olympics Summer Games.

Thursday, once three Sussex County legs that began Delmar, Lewes and Georgetown unite in Harrington, three torches become one and the run continues north to Dover for an afternoon stop at Legislative Hall.

Throughout the Torch Run, volunteers leap-frog the Torch Run to ensure it stays lit the entire 160 miles, a tradition started by the late Winnie "Torch Master" Spence in 1994. Delaware is the only state in the country that runs a lit Flame of Hope the entire length of the state prior to its Summer Games.

Torch Run participants ante up $35 to take part. Fundraising often goes beyond that entry fee.

"We have incentives, like for $50 they can get a hat ? or shirts. It goes all the way up to $1,000," said Delaware Law Enforcement Torch Run Director Greg Nolt.

Millsboro PD's Torch Run fundraising effort ranked No. 2 in the state, Millsboro Police Chief Brian Calloway announced at Millsboro town council's June 4 meeting.

Last year's event raised more than $750,000 statewide. Since its inception it has raised approximately $7 million in support of SODE's year-round programming that provides quality sports training and athletic competition for 4,200 children and adults with disabilities and/or cognitive delays.

Delaware Law Enforcement supports SODE in other ways, including a 5K fundraiser, Truck Convoy, Over the Edge and the Lewes Polar Bear Plunge.

"We have like 12 fundraisers throughout the year. That is where all that money comes from," said Mr. Nolt.

On board this year are three Torch Run sponsors: Correctional Officers Association of Delaware; Delaware State Troopers Association; and Delaware State Chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police.

"That's new this year and that's really a good sponsorship to have," said Mr. Nolt.

Georgetown Police Department Det. Joey Melvin, left, chats with Law Enforcement Torch Run Director Greg Nolt after the first-wave handoff.

From left, Selbyville police officer Megan Loulou, Delaware state trooper Irima Celpan and Millsboro officer Michael Gorman prepare for the start of the Torch Run.

Aubrey Spicer holds the torch as Georgetown Police Chief R.L. Hughes leads the way in the ceremonial Chid Spicer Memorial Mile. The Flame of Hope is about to be passed in the early stages of the Law Enforcement Torch Run out of Georgetown.


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