Special Olympic torch brought to Zanesville by Law Enforcement Torch Run

By Jessica Johnston, Reporter

The Law Enforcement Torch Run, a public awareness fundraiser to raise funds and awareness for Special Olympics, came through Zanesville Thursday.

The run was founded in 1981 Wichita, Kansas Police Chief Richard LaMunyon saw a lack of awareness for Special Olympics and decided to have the first Torch Run to get law enforcement and the community involved with Special Olympics and its athletes, according to Special Olympics Ohio’s website. Since the eighties, many other law enforcement personnel across the U.S. and in 25 countries have gotten involved.

“I was first exposed to torch run in 1998 when I was a cadet at the highway patrol academy,” Anne Ralston, a staff lieutenant with the Highway Patrol out of Cambridge and a co-organizer of the Marietta to Columbus leg of the Law Enforcement Torch Run, said. “We ran as a class and from that point forward I was hooked. I’ve been involved for the last 20 years and it’s a great opportunity for us to promote law enforcement; that we want to give back to our communities not only at work but in our time off as well.”

Lieutenant Matt Boyd, the commander of the Zanesville Highway Patrol Post, had the honor of running the torch into the cheering crowd of supports seated on the sidewalk of Main Street.

“It’s nice to be able to interact with the Special Olympians,” Boyd said. “And the legs like this in Zanesville, where they get to come out and run with us and their appreciation for everything is just awesome.”

There were representatives from two of Special Olympic Ohio’s largest sponsors, Kroger and the Freemasons. Tim Snelling of the Amrou Grotto Masons hosted a pool tournament that raised $1,600 to help Special Olympics athletes get to the Special Olympics events.

There are about 30 athletes that practice at the Muskingum County Board of Developmental Disabilities under Sandy Drenten. It costs roughly $200 to get each athlete to the Special Olympics Ohio events in Columbus, Snelling said. His ultimate goal is to eventually raise enough money one year to sponsor all 30-athlete’s trip to the Ohio events.

Tom Liddell from the Zanesville Kroger has attended the Law Enforcement Torch Run in Zanesville for three years.

“We’ve actually had a couple (employees) at the store who have been in the Special Olympics and one (employee) last year came back and had her metal and it just does good for the community,” Liddell, who was accompanied by a new Kroger employee Katie Wilson, said.