Sylvania Capt. Richard Schoor, left, holds the Special Olympics torch as it is lit by Sylvania Police Chief William Rhodus.
From Sylvania to Columbus, a lit torch will pass from runner to runner, traveling across the state in support of the Special Olympics Ohio.
The northwest Ohio leg of the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics kicked off at the Sylvania Police Department at 11:30 a.m. Friday.
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About 10 law enforcement agents from the Sylvania Police and the Lucas County Sheriff’s Office lined up for the yearly run that officers around the country participate in by foot or bike. This year, one of the youngest participants, who usually stood on the sidelines, decided to lace up and join the event.
“I watched a bit of it last year, and will walk alongside them this year,” said Noah Schnoor, 9.
The young Schnoor, son of Sylvania’s Police Captain Rick Schnoor, watched as his father lit the torch that he would pass off to other agency officials, as the torch made its way to the Toledo Mud Hens baseball game.
This is the third year the department has participated in the race which started in 1981 when Wichita, Kan., Police Chief Richard LaMunyon saw a need to raise funds for and increase awareness of Special Olympics.
“The Special Olympics Ohio is a great event, and the run brings recognition to it,” Sylvania Police Chief William Rhodus said. “And it’s a good way for law enforcement to show their support.”
Officers met in various communities around the region to pass the torch, called the Flame of Hope. The flame was passed to officers from the Holland, Maumee, and Toledo police and the Lucas County Sheriff's Office.
Members of the sheriff's office led the march on motorcycle bikes, guiding the troop through Sylvania.
Frank Reidy, deputy sheriff for Lucas County, has been participating in the event for 20 years.
“I participate every year because it is a worthy cause and it promotes camaraderie between law enforcement agencies,” he said.
More than $580,000 was raised by runners statewide. Dr. Shelley Schnoor of Lambertville, Mich., sponsored the Sylvania runners.
The torch will arrive in Columbus, along with the other regional torches, for the Special Olympics Opening Ceremonies at 6 p.m. Friday at the Ohio State University.
For details on the route, visit www.sooh.org.
Contact Natalie Trusso Cafarello at: 419-206-0356 or firstname.lastname@example.org.