Tuesday, May 24 , 2016, 3:04 pm | Partly Cloudy 66º




Special Olympics Torch Run Passes Through Santa Barbara County

Runners do their part to help raise awareness and funds with the 'flame of hope'

By Lara Cooper, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @laraanncooper |

With flaming torch in hand, a group of runners made its way down Calle Real in Santa Barbara on Wednesday, flanked by patrol cars.

It was all part of the Special Olympics Torch Run, which aims to carry the torch all the way to the University of Southern California for the games taking place there Saturday.

In the midday sun, the runners pounded the pavement in their sneakers, carrying the torch high.

In Southern California alone, more than 4,000 officers and Special Olympics athletes run 1,500 miles with the "flame of hope" to raise awareness and funds for the Special Olympics.

Led by California Highway Patrol Cmdr. Mark D'Arelli, the group made a stop Wednesday in the parking lot of the CHP Office at 6465 Calle Real to talk with reporters about the run and the fundraising efforts.

Earlier in the day, officials from California State Parks handed off the torch from Refugio State Beach Park, and D'Arelli and his group ran the torch for 5 miles during their leg of the journey.  By the end of the day Wednesday, the torch would be handed off at the Ventura County line.

Multiple agencies were involved in the run this year, including the CHP, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department, the Santa Barbara Police Department, the UCSB Police Department, California State Parks, the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office, the county Probation Office and the Special Olympics Southern California Santa Barbara Region Office.

Michelle Duke, with the local Special Olympics office, said the organization serves 425 athletes in the Santa Barbara area and thanked the efforts of law enforcement for volunteering for the run and for the work they do throughout the year with fundraisers like Tip-a-Cop events.

The mission of the Special Olympics, which began in 1968, is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, D'Arelli said, and law enforcement agencies have been involved with the torch run tradition since it began in the early 1980s.

He's participated in the torch run for more than 15 years and said Special Olympics events serve people with disabilities by "helping them feel welcome in their communities and develop a profound belief in themselves."

Sheriff's Lt. Butch Arnoldi coordinated the southern Santa Barbara County torch run and said that last year, $1.4 million was raised in Southern California during the run, adding that $100,000 of that was raised in Santa Barbara County.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.




Reader Comments

Noozhawk's intent is not to limit the discussion of our stories but to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and must be free of profanity and abusive language and attacks.

By posting on Noozhawk, you:

» Agree to be respectful. Noozhawk encourages intelligent and impassioned discussion and debate, but now has a zero-tolerance policy for those who cannot express their opinions in a civil manner.

» Agree not to use Noozhawk’s forums for personal attacks. This includes any sort of personal attack — including, but not limited to, the people in our stories, the journalists who create these stories, fellow readers who comment on our stories, or anyone else in our community.

» Agree not to post on Noozhawk any comments that can be construed as libelous, defamatory, obscene, profane, vulgar, harmful, threatening, tortious, harassing, abusive, hateful, sexist, racially or ethnically objectionable, or that are invasive of another’s privacy.

» Agree not to post in a manner than emulates, purports or pretends to be someone else. Under no circumstances are readers posting to Noozhawk to knowingly use the name or identity of another person, whether that is another reader on this site, a public figure, celebrity, elected official or fictitious character. This also means readers will not knowingly give out any personal information of other members of these forums.

» Agree not to solicit others. You agree you will not use Noozhawk’s forums to solicit and/or advertise for personal blogs and websites, without Noozhawk’s express written approval.

Noozhawk’s management and editors, in our sole discretion, retain the right to remove individual posts or to revoke the access privileges of anyone who we believe has violated any of these terms or any other term of this agreement; however, we are under no obligation to do so.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

 

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.