On Thursday, June 11 Milfordians helped carry the torch that began the 2015 Special Olympics Delaware summer games. At 10am the symbolic torch traveled through Milford and was passed onto its final destination, the University of Delaware where the games were held Friday, June 12 through Saturday, June 13. The torch traveled 160-mile beginning Wednesday night in Rehoboth Beach and reached its destination at the athletic complex during the Athlete and Family Barbecue.
Participating in the torch run were over 500 law enforcement officers who created a police escort across the state over the three-day journey. Every law enforcement agency in the state of Delaware was represented during the event. In Milford two Torch Run groups combined their efforts at the Lakeview Avenue and Route 113 intersection to carry the torch as one unit into Kent County.
Special Olympics Delaware provides a year-round program of quality sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities and cognitive delays. According to the organization, over 4,000 volunteers makes the program possible for the more than 3,500 athletes who compete in Special Olympics Delaware. Special Olympics Delaware aims to “builds sports skills, confidence, strength, motivation and self-esteem, not just for the athletes, but for everyone involved.”
The Opening Ceremony took place last Friday at the Bob Carpenter Center at the University of Delaware with nearly 700 athletes and 100 Unified Partners, peers without disabilities, from across the state compete in six sports: aquatics, bocce, powerlifting, softball, tennis, and track and field. In addition, Young Athletes demonstrations involved children ages 2-7 on Friday at the pool and track. .
The “Flame of Hope” arrived at the ceremony after traveling 160 miles over three days as part of the 29th annual Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics. Among the highlights of the ceremony was the parade of athletes and the lighting of the cauldron by 2014 Outstanding Athlete, David Hill, of Newark, and Torch Runner of the Year, Corporal Chris Popp of the Delaware State Police..
“The annual Summer Games is the highlight of the year for everyone involved,” said Special Olympics Delaware executive director Ann Grunert. “We take great pride in providing our athletes with a first-class event at which they can display their many athletic talents not only to family and friends, but their fellow Delawareans from the community.”