Police across the state participated in the annual Special Olympics Torch Run this week. Officers from Wallingford handed the torch off to Meriden Thursday morning.
The Wallingford team ran the torch up Route 5 before passing it to Meriden officers and two Special Olympians on South Broad Street near the town line.
“We love doing it,” said Michelle DePaola, mother of a Special Olympic athlete, just ahead of the hand-off.
Meriden residents James DePaola, 27, and fellow Special Olympic athlete Shaquan Lennox, 28, ran with the Meriden officers.
DePaola said he enjoys participating each year. Lennox and DePaola both compete in track and field and will be at the opening ceremonies today.
Meriden Sgt. Vasco Lacerda said the department had a great turnout for this year’s event, with 25 officers participating. Lacerda said a lot of the newer officers took up the cause, along with the core group that participates every year.
“We realize how important to the Special Olympics this run is,” Lacerda said. “It’s a great cause.”
As of Thursday the department’s fundraising was at about $2,500, Lacerda said. They are still accepting donations.
Wallingford Lt. Michael Colavolpe said their leg of the run went well with about 20 runners, including members of the U. S. Secret Service out of New Haven. Colavolpe said everyone is supportive of the event and this year’s turnout also included new officers.
Wallingford K9 Tate also participated in the run, as he has every year since he joined the department in 2016.
From Meriden, the torch went through Middlefield and on to Middletown.
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