North Carolina Department of Correction News - March 1999

Torch Run

DOC joins Torch Run for Special Olympics

Forsyth golf tournament a big fundraiser for Special Olympics

DOC joins Torch Run for Special Olympics
Correction employees are joining police officers for the first time this year in selling T-shirts and caps emblazoned with the logo of the North Carolina Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics.

The fund-raising and public relations effort by North Carolina law enforcement, now in its 12th year, is the major fund-raiser for all state-level games held each year in May for Special Olympians.

Athletes compete at the state games in hopes of reaching the World Games, which are also being held in North Carolina this year, June 26 through July 4.

Law enforcement and the state Special Olympics coordinators asked correction officials to participate in the Torch Run this year. Acting Secretary Joe Hamilton and division directors pledged their support, and more than 150 correction employees took part in the statewide organization meeting in Durham this year, nearly doubling the total number of participants in 1998.

The Torch Run is made up of two parts, the fund-raising effort and the actual run in which participants carry torches from across the state and meet at Paul Durr Track at N.C. State University on May 21. Runners use the torch to light the cauldron, signaling the beginning of the state summer games.

The 14-day Torch Run is a relay that covers more than 2,000 miles. Coordinators organize runners to relay the Flame of Hope along different routes that end in Raleigh. Runners can ask to run a tenth of a mile or ten miles to show their support for the Special Olympics.

"Our primary fund-raising effort since we’re just starting this year will be the sale of hats and T-shirts," says John Blalock, the coordinator for the Division of Prisons. "Because of agreements between Special Olympics and the State Employees Combined Campaign, any other fund raising should be done away from the office."

Other law enforcement agencies have set up different fund-raising projects, holding golf tournaments and working with businesses such as Red Lobster. Others solicited contributions from companies as well as individuals. The top contributors have their names listed on the T-shirt’s back.

The 1999 T-shirts list last year’s top 50 law enforcement contributors including the Forsyth Correctional Center, the only DOC representative on the list.

"The Torch Run helps raise awareness," Blalock said. "It gives people a chance to see the law enforcement and correction employees who support the games and gives us a chance to talk about the ways we can help the special athletes who take part in the Special Olympics."

Just as volunteers are needed for the World Games being held this year in the Triangle, volunteers are also needed each year for the state summer games. Volunteers can support the athletes or work at the games.

For more information about Special Olympics, contact John Blalock at prisons, Kevin Wallace at probation or Judy Chapman at Enterprise. The state games has a website that offers information on the games and the Torch Run at u

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