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Local officers join Torch Run 2000

May 31, 2000

When 50 police torch runners entered Hagerstown's Public Square at noon Wednesday, supporters were there to cheer them on.

Among them was Hagerstown City Police Chief Arthur Smith, who is familiar with the goal of the 15th annual Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics.

"My wife teaches special education," Smith said. "We don't always realize what these children go through in their lives."

Money and awareness are raised by the torch run, which snakes across Maryland until it reaches College Park on Friday.

"For these children to get out and have fun is great," Smith said. "I have a special place in my heart for them."

More than 1,200 participants will compete in bowling, golf, softball, track and field, aquatics and equestrian events during the three-day competition.

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Participating this year in the Washington County leg of the torch run were Hagerstown City Police, Maryland State Police, Washington County Sheriff's Department and the Maryland Division of Correction.

"Most ran but some rode bicycles in varying portions of the 36-mile stretch from Hancock to the Frederick County line," said Trooper 1st Class Kim Barnes, one of the organizers of the local effort.

The 2000 Special Olympics games in Maryland are scheduled to begin on Friday, June 2, at the University of Maryland. This year is the 30th anniversary of the games, which will continue through June 4.

A Flame of Hope carried across the state will be used to light the Special Olympics cauldron in Cole Field House for opening ceremonies at 8:30 p.m. Friday.

Money was raised by selling Law Enforcement Torch Run T-shirts for $12 each. Last year, $400,000 was raised.

- Marlo Barnhart

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