Eugene and Springfield Police Departments participated in the Law Enforcement Torch Run which benefits Special Olympics Oregon. SPD Officers carried the “flame of hope” from the Springfi eld Municipal Jail across town past Autzen Stadium, where they passed the torch to EPD
In this year’s torch run, Eugene and Springfield police ran alongside Special Olympics athletes for the first time since 2019. Springfield Police officers ran through Springfi eld carrying the Olympic torch with the Flame of Hope. They carried the torch from the Springfi eld Municipal Jail across town past Autzen Stadium, where they handed it off to the Eugene Police Department. Even after their portion of the run ended, Springfield police kept running to celebrate the first torch run since 2019. At the end of the route was a barbeque at Valley River Center with food from Elk Horn Brewery. The law enforcement torch run is a 36-year tradition raising awareness and money for the Special Olympics. Now a global event, all 50 states and more than 30 foreign countries participate in the Law Enforcement Torch Run. In Oregon, more than 1,500 law enforcement personnel from federal, military, state, county, and local agencies participate in the year-round Torch Run campaign. “It’s near and dear to EPD’s heart because we have several teammates who have kids with intellectual special needs,” said Kara Williams from Eugene Police. “They’ll be running with us today, so it’s really about teamwork and partnering with our community.” This is the Special Olympics’ first year back after a three-year hiatus due to the COVID Pandemic. The opening-day event for the Eugene-Springfield Special Olympics. The first event will be held on July 10 at Hamlet Middle School in Springfi eld. The Eugene-Springfi eld Special Olympics is volunteer-run, supporting the 125 registered special needs athletes, about 60 of whom will be competing this year. Event organizers say they could always use more volunteers and especially coaches, as there is about one coach for every four athletes. The torch would typically be run all the way to Junction City, but this year’s run started off small after the COVID-19 pandemic and only involved Eugene and Springfi eld. More information about how to donate can be found at the Oregon Special Olympics website.