UNION, NJ – On Friday morning, runners were poised and ready for the Union leg of the Law Enforcement Torch run for Special Olympics.

Members of the Union Police and Fire Departments, EMS, Union’s VFW Post #2433, and representatives from Planet Honda gathered in front of the Union Police Department for the kick-off of the Union leg of the Torch Run.

“We are extremely proud of this torch run,” said Deputy Mayor Joseph Florio.  “Every year, our police and fire personnel volunteer for Special Olympics and help raise money for this very worthwhile cause.  I wish them the best of luck running today.”

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Union police officer Mike Loguidice, who organized the Union leg of the run, said the runners take off from the Union Police Department on Caldwell Avenue to the Millburn border, where they will pass the torch to the Millburn police to continue the trek to Trenton.

More than 3,000 police officers, correction officers and support personnel are participating in this signature event, with 26 separate runs weaving their way throughout the state and coming together as a single flame to light the cauldron during the opening ceremonies of the Special Olympics New Jersey’s Summer Games at the College of New Jersey, Ewing.

Port Authority policeman Jerry Colligan, one of the state Torch Run coordinators, said, “New Jersey is one of the only states where Special Olympics athletes do not pay for anything, and it’s all due to police across this great state who come out support the teams.”

“We are happy to support this great cause,” said Planet Honda Marketing Director Sue Lerch.  “We’ve worked with the Union Police Department many times and we’re thrilled to be here running to support the Special Olympics.”

With more $3 million raised annually through local and statewide events, the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics New Jersey has been recognized in the world for many years as one of the top grassroots fundraising organizations for Special Olympics.

Fundraising events that are conducted year-round in New Jersey include an Adopt-a-Cop campaign for the annual Torch Run, three Polar Bear Plunges, the Lincoln Tunnel Challenge 5K, the United Airlines Plane Pull and golf outings just to name a few. In addition to fundraising, Law Enforcement officers volunteer at athlete competitions and events year-round, while serving as ambassadors in local communities, according to the Special Olympics New Jersey

For more information on how to donate visit www.sonj.org.