Torch Run draws hundreds in second year
Law enforcement officers from around Lake County made their way from Burlington Bay through downtown Two Harbors and back to the Lake County Arena on Tuesday, June 19, for the second annual Law Enforcement Torch Run to benefit Special Olympics Minnesota (SOMN).
Members of the Two Harbors and Silver Bay police departments as well as members of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office and Minnesota State Patrol gathered at Burlington Bay Beach to carry the Special Olympics torch through town. They met up with dozens more children and adults at the arena for the final leg of the run to the Two Harbors Fire Department on Highway 2.
The procession included five squad cars from the four departments and about 20 runners from the four agencies. Employees from local businesses cheered on the runners as they made their way down First Avenue.
The time of the run changed this year to the evening so more people could participate in the event and the benefit was evident as nearly 150 more people joined the run up the the fire hall. Some kids biked the distance and parents pushed children in strollers.
Once at the fire hall, the runners were greeted by the Duluth All-Stars Special Olympics team and kids enjoyed face painting, blew bubbles and played games.
Nearly 300 people ran or joined the party at the finish. The Two Harbors Torch Run raised more than $12,500 for SOMN teams and activities.
The presence of a SOMN team from Duluth also highlighted the need for a local organizer. Lake County has been without an organizer for more than 20 years, forcing any SOMN athletes from Lake County to travel at least 25 miles to Duluth, a significant barrier to people with disabilities.
Those individuals often have a hard time maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but the exercise and activity associating with Special Olympics training programs helps maintain a level of fitness that might not otherwise be possible, according to Lake County Developmental Achievement Center (DAC) Director Michelle MacDonald.
The DAC is a private, nonprofit organization licensed by the Minnesota Department of Human Services to provide day services and day training and habilitation for developmentally disabled adults.
Those interested in establishing a Two Harbors-based SOMN team can begin the application process at somn.org or contact SOMN’s Area 3 coordinator Dani Druse at 763-270-7193 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.