HASBROUCK HEIGHTS/WOOD-RIDGE, NJ -- It was a warm, late spring Friday morning when adults and children outfitted in matching t-shirts rolled like a red wave through the streets of Hasbrouck Heights and Wood-Ridge in the 35th annual New Jersey Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics.

Members of Hasbrouck Heights Police Department and children and staff from the Lincoln and Euclid elementary schools and the middle school took the “Flame of Hope” from Lodi officials at 9:45am. The flame proceeded up Williams Street, turned south on to the Boulevard, around the circle and down Valley Boulevard.

At 10:20 am, they met and handed the torch off to members of the Wood-Ridge Police Department and the Borough Council at Valley Boulevard and Lincoln Avenue. The runners then took the flame to Catherine E. Doyle School and then on to the Carlstadt border.

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Members of the Hasbrouck Heights Police Department who ran included Chief Michael Colaneri, Sr., Captain Joseph Rinke, Lt. Michael Colaneri, Jr., Sgt. Alan Baker, Sgt. John Behr; providing Support/Traffic  were Lt. Ian Robertson, Ptl. Brian Donohue, Det. Armeli, and Special Olympic guests were Kevin Colaneri and Dawn DeLorenzo.

The Torch Run began in New Jersey in 1983 as a  way to raise funds and awareness for Special Olympics New Jersey, according to its website. The run is a day-long event, split into 26 legs (or starting points) with some legs beginning as early as 4:45 a.m. The event travels through more than 300 towns, covering 750 miles on-foot.

The legs of the run gradually come together, ending in the evening at The College of New  Jersey just in time for the lighting of the cauldron at the Special Olympics New Jersey Summer Games Opening Ceremony.

This year 3,000 runners and  350 police departments are expected to participate and fundraise.

Hasbrouck Heights and Wood-Ridge are in Leg 6 of 26. Its leg began in Garfield and continued through Saddle Brook, Lodi, Carlstadt, Rutherford, North Arlington, Lyndhurst, Secaucus, Kearny, and finished in Harrison.

(Editor’s Note: please share photos of from this year’s Torch Run, from either Wood-Ridge or Hasbrouck Heights, and we will update the article with them.)


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