PARIS – Cpl. Dane Tripp of the Oxford County Sheriff’s Office has been inducted into the Maine Law Enforcement Torch Run Hall of Fame.

The deputy has participated in every run since 1985, helping to raise close to $3 million for Special Olympics Maine. His primary reason, he said, is that he has family members who are mentally disabled.

State Torch Run Director Robert Bell of Bridgton, the former chief of police for that town, presented Tripp with an engraved plaque thanking him for his contribution.

“Your dedication to the run and to improving the lives of people with intellectual disabilities has gone above and beyond the call of duty,” the plaque reads. “On behalf of over 2,500 Special Olympics Maine Athletes, thank you for caring and sharing.”

Tripp, of Poland, said he was proud to be named to the Hall of Fame because it says “I’ve helped someone along the way.”

The 59-year-old officer said the fifth leg of the run, which goes through parts of Cumberland, Oxford and Androscoggin counties, varies each year. So does his condition. One year, he ran part of the way with a knee injury; another year he had a broken foot but managed to do a section of the route to maintain his record of participation, he said.

The deputy has been a volunteer at the Special Olympics winter games at Sugarloaf USA and the summer games at the University of Maine in Orono. In 2001, he was selected to represent Maine law enforcement at the World Games in Alaska. He was one of 110 police officers from around the world chosen to attend.

“Dane has done an awful lot for Special Olympics,” said Bell, who is also a member of the Hall of Fame.

The nationwide Law Enforcement Torch Run was the idea of a Wichita (Kansas) police chief. When Bell heard about it and proposed it to the Maine Chiefs of Police Association in 1985, it took off running that same year.

“We were one of the first 10 states to start a torch run,” he said. Last year, more than $200,000 was raised by Maine law enforcement personnel for Special Olympics Maine, which holds annual summer and winter athletic games for mentally handicapped people.

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