By MAIRE O’NEILL
Los Alamos Daily Post
The Los Alamos Police Department is ready to continue its decades long tradition of raising money for the annual Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics New Mexico.
Last year, LAPD received the Bronze Award for raising $1,745 in 2015, but Cmdr. Oliver Morris, local coordinator and 10-year volunteer, wants to kick it up a notch for this year’s run slated for May 19.
“Our LAPD volunteers really want to enhance awareness of the importance of Special Olympics to local and state athletes. This year, our goal is to raise more funds and obtain more sponsors and donations than ever for this amazing program,” Morris said.
He said many LAPD officers proudly donate their time and money to Special Olympics, which provides year-round sports training in 12 Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. This year, several fundraising events are planned, including a car wash and a “Tip-a-Cop” dinner.
“Special Olympics gives participants opportunities to develop physical fitness, but more importantly, they get to show their courage and experience joy,” Morris said. “It provides wonderful interaction between athletes, parents, families and volunteers.”
“The most rewarding part of being involved in Special Olympics is getting to know the athletes,” Morris said. “I have known some of them now for more than 10 years. It gives me great joy to hear from the athletes about how much they enjoy what they are accomplishing.”
Each year, LAPD volunteers are involved in the Law Enforcement Torch Run from Los Alamos to the American Legion in the Jemez, a distance of 42 miles. Some of them run 10 miles, some run less, and others run through town with Special Olympics athletes, block off roads and whatever else is needed to make the event a success.
Fifty percent of the money raised by LAPD goes to the Special Olympics New Mexico and the other 50 percent goes to locally-based athletes. American Legion Post 90 and the American Legion Riders are two of the department’s consistent supporters, Morris said.
He would like to involve more local organizations, businesses and individuals this year.
For more information or to make a donation, call Cmdr. Oliver Morris at 505.662.8281 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.