SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, N.J. – Members of the Scotch Plains and Fanwood Police forces carried the Special Olympics torch through their respective towns in the 2016 Law Enforcement Torch Run to benefit Special Olympics New Jersey on Friday afternoon.
Led by Officer Shaun Johnson, Scotch Plains police received the torch from Westfield officers around noon at the corner of South Avenue and North Scotch Plains Avenue, then ran about a mile of the 35 mile route. Fanwood Police took the “Flame of Hope” next and traveled up Martine Avenue, then down Front Street into Plainfield.
All along the way friends and family cheered on the runners, and Scotch Plains Police even paused for pictures with local Special Olympian Billy Duthie, who will be one of over 2,500 athletes competing in the games this weekend.
Over 85,000 officers participate in the torch run every year throughout the world, and this year more than 3,000 hailed from the Garden State. New Jersey law enforcement ran 26 different routes and annually raises over three million of the $50+ million raised world-wide by Law Enforcement Torch Runs for the Special Olympics.
This year the Scotch Plains and Fanwood Police Departments donned the neon orange t-shirts in Run 2, a route that began in Elizabeth at 10:30 a.m. and didn’t conclude until the Hillsborough Police Department reached their finish line over seven hours later.
Runs began as early as 4:45 a.m. and carried on across the state all day until about 7:30 p.m. when police reached TCNJ, the host site of the 2016 Special Olympics in New Jersey. There, they lit the cauldron with the Flame of Hope to officially kick-off the summer games. To learn more about Special Olympics New Jersey, visit www.sonj.org.