SOMERVILLE, NJ – Hundreds of law enforcement officers from Morris and Somerset County will carry the “Flame of Hope” on Friday, June 7 to commemorate this weekend’s New Jersey Special Olympics Summer Games held at the College of New Jersey in Ewing Township.

Thousands of police officers and law enforcement personnel will participate statewide in the torch run, now in its 36th year.

The torch passed its way through Morris Plains and then came through Morristown this morning, then headed south on Speedwell Avenue, through the Green, and continuing on Rt. 202 south . The torch will make its way through Bridgewater, Somerville and Hillsborough before ending at the College of New Jersey in Ewing Township, where more than 2,500 athletes will gather for the opening ceremonies Friday night. A giant cauldron will be lit by a torch to signal the opening of the New Jersey Special Olympics games. The athletes will compete in dozens of events  on Saturday and Sunday.

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More than 3,000 law enforcement officers throughout New Jersey shucked their uniforms and business suits for running shorts, t-shirts and sneakers to participate in the 36th annual Torch Run. A total of 26 legs will be run throughout New Jersey Friday, totaling 750 miles.

“Law enforcement officers pledge to serve and uphold the members of their community, so we feel it is our duty to serve the Special Olympics athletes of New Jersey,” said Chief Robert Belfiore, retired Deputy Chief of the Port Authority of NY/NJ and director of the New Jersey Torch Run.

“As a member of the Law Enforcement Torch Run, I always feel privileged to carry the torch,” he added. “This is our chance to become a champion for the cause, to show the members of our communities how talented our local Special Olympics athletes are.”

Each year the “Flame of Hope” run raises over $3 million for New Jersey Special Olympics.

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