ROCHELLE — The annual Law Enforcement Torch Run for the Special Olympics will be held Wednesday, June 13.
Several members of the Rochelle Police Department will receive the torch from Winnebago County and will carry it through town, passing it on to Lee County officers.
The Rochelle Police Department has taken part in the Special Olympics Torch Run for many years, helping raise funds for Special Olympics.
Special Olympics is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering individuals with intellectual disabilities to become physically fit, productive and respected members of society through sports training and competition.
The Rochelle Police Department would like to encourage the citizens and businesses of Rochelle to take this opportunity to make a difference in the lives of more than 2.25 million athletes and their families by dropping off or mailing your contribution to Special Olympics, c/o Rochelle Police Department, 416 N. Sixth St., Rochelle, IL 61068. Please make checks payable to: Special Olympics.
If you would like more information, contact Sandy Sullivan at (815) 562-2131.
The Torch Run will begin on IL Rt. 251 and Flagg Road, travel southbound to IL Route 38, east to Lincoln Highway through downtown, over the tracks and then back southbound on IL Route 251 to the Rochelle Municipal Airport on Wednesday.
The Torch Run began in Illinois in 1986 with less than 100 runners carrying the torch along five legs: North (starting in South Beloit), South (starting in Cairo), West (starting in Quincy), East (starting in Danville) and the city of Chicago.
Illinois’ first Torch Run raised just $14,039.93, but the seed was planted for future growth. The Torch Run raised $500,000 in Illinois in 1997. Illinois easily surpassed the $1 million mark in 2001, reached the $2 million mark in 2006 and the $3 million mark in 2013. In 2017, the Torch Run reached another milestone when it raised more than $4.4 million. Making it the third highest grossing program in the world.
Illinois’ Torch Run program has raised more than $47 million since its inception in 1986.
Special Olympics Illinois provides year-round training and competition in 18 different sports to children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Currently, SOILL serves more than 23,000 children and adults with intellectual disabilities and nearly 20,000 young athletes (ages 2-7) with and without intellectual disabilities. All athletes participate at no cost to themselves or their families.
The benefits of Special Olympics for the athletes are tremendous-including physical fitness, sports skills, self-esteem and especially the social benefits. Special Olympics transforms the lives of people with intellectual disabilities.
Special Olympics will celebrate its 50th Anniversary this July 17-21 in Chicago, home of the first games in 1968. Scheduled events include the first-ever Special Olympics Unified Football (Soccer) Cup tournament, the dedication and lighting of the Special Olympics Eternal Flame of Hope monument outside Soldier Field, the first-ever Global Day of Inclusion will be held at Soldier Field, and the Inclusion Fest Concert at the Northerly Island amphitheater, featuring internationally acclaimed music acts.
Since Special Olympics’ inaugural event on July 20, 1968, following many years of advocacy and action for social change, the organization has grown to include more than 5 million Special Olympics athletes across 172 countries.
Learn more about the 50th Anniversary celebration at www.specialolympics50.org.