The Law Enforcement Torch Run is a time for celebration, said Christina Nunez, Community Service Officer II with the La Habra Police Department.
It is indeed … a celebration of some special athletes.
And once again, La Habra police department personnel on June 3 will participate in the Law Enforcement Torch Run relay, which serves as an awareness and fundraising campaign for Special Olympics Southern California. Law enforcement agencies, along with the individual runners, seek sponsorships from businesses and individuals, in addition to utilizing a variety of fundraising methods to support this worthwhile cause.
The Special Olympics Southern California Games take place June 11-12 at Cal State Long Beach.
About a dozen members from the department will make up La Habra’s team this year, all of whom will run a 3.1 mile route through the city, taking turns carrying the Special Olympics torch, aptly named the “Flame of Hope.”
Six Special Olympics athletes traveling in cars will accompany them, as be part of the procession, said Nunez, who has organized La Habra’s participation in the Torch Run for the past 10 years.
“It’s a chance for them to be recognized and to shine,” Nunez said of the athletes. “This is all about supporting them and their athletic goals. These kids are awesome and they are so inspiring.”
The Flame of Hope starts its journey May 31 in Chula Vista and will be carried for 1,500 miles through 200 Southern California cities by dozens of law enforcement agencies.
Shortly after noon on June 3, La Habra will take the torch from Brea’s runners, near the intersection of Puente Street and Lambert Road.
From there, La Habra’s group will travel west on Lambert to Harbor Boulevard and then run north along Harbor to Whittier Boulevard.
The team will continue west along Whittier until they reach Euclid Street, then head south to the police station, where they should arrive at about 12:45 p.m., Nunez said.
Along the route, the special athletes will be cheered on and the runners encouraged by residents and business owners who take time to watch the parade of participants as they pass by.
“We run for a purpose, but it is not a race, for us, it’s a celebration,” she said. “It’s a party.”
Whittier police will take the torch from La Habra, as the flame winds its way throughout So Cal before making its final stop in Long Beach for the opening ceremonies.
Anyone wanting to make a donation can go to the Special Olympics Southern California website sosc.org/orangecounty or contact Christina Nunez at 562- 383-4300, extension 5341.