Special Olympics torch blazes through Farmington

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FARMINGTON— Thirty-five officers and family members participated Thursday in the annual Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics, running along Route 2 from the Mt. Blue Shopping Center in Farmington to the State Police Barracks in Skowhegan.

“The total for the run today alone was $3,200 and we will raise another $1,000-$1,500 as a result of this week’s run,” organizer Matt Casavant of the Maine State Police said in an email Thursday night. “The $3,200 is from local businesses who contribute $100 to get a sign “Adopting A Mile” of the run.  It is a program started in Franklin County and has now become a statewide fundraising event raising approximately $15,000 a year,” he said.

With 3,400 athletes competing in games, the $225,000 raised by law enforcement officers across the state helps support their programs, games and raises awareness, Casavant said.

The run ends Friday at the University of Maine in Orono, where the summer games will be held through Sunday.

For nearly 30 years, law enforcement has held fundraisers to help support the Special Olympics in Maine.

Officers also look for any “gimmicky idea” to raise funds, such as donut eating contests, selling paper torches and staying on the roof of a Dunkin’ Donuts. One officer stayed the 24 hours to raise $2,000, he said.

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“Ask a police officer and he’ll go do it,” Casavant added.

Casavant said he starts fundraising for the Special Olympics in January and ends in December.

“I’m hooked for life,” he said.

Starting the run along with Casavant were state police Lt. Don Pomerlow, state police Trooper Randall Keaten, Carrabassett Valley police Chief Scott Nichols, Franklin County Detective David St. Laurent and Deputy Nick Zecher, Game Warden Kris McCabe, Christian Garzia, Aaron Quint and Brandon Smith from the Border Patrol.

Family members Aimee Dalton, Angie Casavant and daughters, Emma and Allison, also ran along with the officers.

Ron Morin of Carrabassett Valley supplied an ambulance to carry supplies and the Farmington Police Department and the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department provided an escort as the runners made their way along the highway.

abryant@sunjournal.com

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