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Law Enforcement Runs With Special Olympics Flame of Hope

The annual Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) to benefit Special Olympics made its way through parts of Dutchess and Ulster County on Saturday. This year’s Hudson Valley run drew approximately 40 runners for the 34th annual Hudson Valley LETR. The LETR started in Kansas in 1981 and has grown every year since,​ ​raising more than $900 million to support the athletes competing in the Special Olympics.

In Dutchess County, the runners begin at the FDR Presidential Library in Hyde Park and run south on Route 9 to Marist College where they turn left onto Washington Street and run to Parker Avenue. The runners then turn left on Parker and almost immediately turn into the East Gate section of the Walkway Over the Hudson. After a very brief water break, the runners head over the Walkway into Ulster County and then make their way to the Mid-Hudson Bridge to return to Poughkeepsie, where the run ends at​ Mahoney's Steakhouse. The Hudson Valley chapter of Special Olympics NY was represented by Director of Development Teresa Gilli. Speaking of the LETR, Gilli said, “Members of law enforcement act as the ‘Guardians of the Flame of Hope’ which is the torch.” Touting the success of this year’s 8.5-mile run, Gilli said, “This year we had more than 40 runners associated with law enforcement who raised a tremendous amount of money for our athletes, and that is heartwarming.” Gilli’s biggest fundraiser in the Hudson Valley is the “Polar Plunge” which is taking place on February 18, 2023. “It is a tremendously popular fundraiser for us,” Gilli said. “I am hoping we can raise $250,000 in honor of our 25th annual run.

New York State Police Carry the Flame of Hope

Information on the Polar Plunge can be found here. Many of the participants create teams, such as Team Fakhoury Family & Friends. Linda Fakhoury has been participating for at least 10 years. In 2022, the team raised more than $5,000 for the cause. After braving the frigid air and water temps last year, she said of her team, “We plunge every year not only to support the athletes of the Special Olympics, but also in honor and in memory of our loved ones that we have lost to cancer, and those who still fight it on a daily basis.”

Source: Mid-Hudson News

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