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Special Olympics Flame of Hope continues journey throughout Buffalo


Fri, Jun 2nd 2017 08:00 am
Flame of Hope will travel to Amherst, Tonawanda, Buffalo, West Seneca, Niagara Falls Air Force Base & Canada
For the 31st year in New York state, law enforcement officers will be carrying the Special Olympics Flame of Hope throughout various communities leading up to opening ceremonies at the State Summer Games. The cauldron will be lit on Friday, June 16, at Sienna College, signifying the opening of the 2017 State Summer Games.
The Flame of Hope is the symbol for the Law Enforcement Torch Run that supports Special Olympics. In the Western Region, there are 20 legs ran throughout different communities, raising funds and awareness for Special Olympics. Most of the runs are named in memory of fallen officers, and this year organizers added two military runs.
•Friday, June 2: The Flame of Hope will travel through Amherst in memory of Special Olympics athlete Kurt Scheiber at 8 a.m.; in Tonawanda in memory of TPD Captain Thomas Diehl and Kenmore in memory of KPF Office Joshua Davidson at 9 a.m.; and in Buffalo in memory of Special Agent William M. Fallon.
There are five different legs: three stops in Buffalo - 10 a.m. at Delaware and Kenmore, 11 a.m. at the FBI headquarters and noon at Canisius College.
As law enforcement officers run, each leg will hand off the Flame of Hope to a different agency.
•Saturday, June 3: The Flame of Hope will travel throughout the Niagara Falls Air Force Base as the 914th Air Refueling Wing shows their support for Special Olympics. The run will begin at 1 p.m. and is expected to have 300 Air Force participants.
•Sunday, June 4: The Flame of Hope will travel through West Seneca, starting at West Seneca Police Department at noon. The public is welcome to participate in this leg.
•Wednesday, June 7: The Flame of Hope will cross international borders as members from U.S. law enforcement and Special Olympics and Canadian law enforcement and Special Olympic athletes meet in the middle of the Rainbow Bridge, uniting both Flames of Hope and making them one. This Torch Run will begin at the Discovery Center at 11:30 a.m., run 1.75 miles through Niagara Falls, and end in the middle of the Rainbow Bridge promptly at noon.
Multiple law enforcement agencies will be involved in the four different Torch Runs, including the Lewiston Police Department, Niagara County Sheriff's Office, U.S. Border Patrol, Orchard Park Police Department, New York State Police, U.S Courts, U.S. Marshall Service, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, FBI, DEA, Homeland Security Investigations, Erie County Sheriffs, Cattaraugus County Sheriffs, Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, Orchard Park Fire Department, Hamburg Police Department and Buffalo Police Department, amongst other agencies.
There will be 12 more Torch Runs in Western New York, which all help to raise funds and awareness for Special Olympic New York athletes, including the International Torch Run on June 7.
The Law Enforcement Torch Run is the largest grassroots fundraising and public awareness vehicle for Special Olympics in the world. In addition to carrying the Flame of Hope to their local and state Special Olympic games, law enforcement officials organize and conduct additional fundraising initiatives such as polar plunges, merchandise sales and golf outings. In 2016, more than $55 million was raised internationally through LETR events. More than $2.1 million was raised last year for athletes through LETR fundraisers in New York.
Since its inception, more than $10 million has been raised through LETR fundraisers, providing training, equipment, venues, uniforms and transportation for hundreds of thousands of Special Olympics New York athletes for a quarter of a century.
Special Olympics New York has 68,547 athletes across New York state compete and train in Olympic-style sports throughout the year, always at no cost to them or their families.

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