by Lisa Tome
Camaraderie for a cause.
On June 2, troopers from the North East barrack, deputies from the Cecil Sheriff's Office and officers from the local municipalities will once again team up to raise money for Special Olympics Maryland.
The annual Torch Run, which has police officers running more than 10 miles on Route 40 from the Delaware line to North East Park, will be underway.
"It's growing every year," said DFC Sean Mahoney, who is again coordinating the event for Cecil County with TFC Michael Cox of the state police. Mahoney said that in 2008, there were approximately 10 officers who carried the torch in Cecil.
Last year, more than 60 officers, their family members, and friends participated in the event.
This year, at least four children of officers will run. There are also participants who will push strollers. Officers from the Department of Natural Resources, corrections officers, and at least one federal agent will also join Cecil's leg of the event.
Cox has run in the event for a decade and has served as a coordinator for five years. He anticipates a larger turnout this year.
Both the trooper and the deputy are aware that public perception of police is negative at this time. Cox said that Special Olympics is law enforcement coming together for a good cause.
"This is a bunch of people running down Route 40 trying to raise awareness for Special Olympics," said Mahoney.
Cpl. Sean Harris, a state trooper, will run this year. "I wholeheartedly agree with the cause. We are raising awareness for Special Olympics," said Harris.
The runners are followed by a school bus. Participants don't have to run the whole route and may board the bus for a break at any time.
"It's a lot of work but I look forward to it," said Cox. "People are out there cheering us on saying that we are doing something great."
"It's the camaraderie. It's not often as law enforcement that we get to do something together when we're not working," said Mahoney.
For Torch Run participants, the fee is $20 and includes a meal at the conclusion of the run in North East Town Park.
Local businesses are also invited to act as sponsors and donate food or give to Special Olympics.
Shirts, which help raise money for Special Olympics Maryland, are available to anyone.
The moisture wicking shirts cost $15. Cotton shirts are $10 each. To donate or purchase a shirt contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. You may also donate online at special olympics maryland.org.