PA Special Olympics Torch Race takes to the local roads

Local News

ALTOONA, Pa. (WTAJ) — More than two dozen members of law enforcement were on the run Wednesday in our region. They weren’t looking to catch criminals, but, instead, were helping out some dedicated athletes.

This year is the 40th anniversary of the Torch Run for Special Olympics by law enforcement teams.

In Blair County, local officers made their biggest showing ever, with 27 participants, mostly from the Altoona Police Department, but, also including agents from the State Attorney General’s office.

“It’s just for an awesome cause, and these athletes are like, the nicest people you’ll ever meet,” said Altoona Police Sergeant Matt Plummer, who helped recruit members of the local law enforcement team.

The relay started at the Sheetz store on 58th street in Altoona and traveled almost seven miles to the Sheetz in the Greenwood area, where the Torch of Hope was handed over to officers from the Pennsylvania State Police Barracks in Hollidaysburg.

Among those cheering them on was Special Olympian Garran Burget, from Altoona

“It’s just awesome to see them do this,” he said, smiling.

Garran added that he’s been competing since 2004, in sports including bowling, basketball, and bocci ball. His favorite part of the whole Special Olympics experience is getting to see his friends.

Special Olympics has also played an important role in the life of Sgt. Plummer, who explained, “I grew up around Special Olympics. My uncle, who’s more like my brother, has Down Syndrome, and he did this his entire life, so it’s important to me.”

According to Plummer, so far the local law enforcement team has raised $2100 for Special Olympics.

The opening ceremonies, the summer games and a block party for Special Olympics, all virtual again this year, due to COVID-19, will take place Sunday, June 13.

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