The Athens-to-Columbus leg of the 2009 Ohio Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics will take place Wednesday through Friday, and once again the Ohio University Police Department is playing a significant role.
Ohio University Police Department Lt. Steve Noftz, who has served as the Athens Torch Run leg leader since 2000, will be joined by more than five other OUPD officers during the event, which is held annually to raise awareness and funds for the state's more than 22,000 Special Olympic athletes.
The Athens Torch Run leg begins Wednesday when with a special satellite run from Jackson to Wellston. It continues the next two days when area law enforcement carry the Athens Special Olympics torch from Ohio University's Peden Stadium to Columbus in time for the opening ceremonies of the Special Olympics Ohio Summer Games on Friday.
The opening ceremony will take place at Ohio State University's Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium and more than 4,000 Special Olympics athletes and coaches are expected to participate. The Special Olympics Summer Games take place June 26-28 and hosts competition in 11 events, including track and field, soccer, swimming, softball, tennis and volleyball.
Noftz said he would like to see a crowd of people greeting the torch runners when they pass down Court Street in Athens on Thursday about 9 a.m. He also said it is encouraging that there are more athletes, law enforcement agencies and businesses participating this year than last year.
"It is an honor to be involved in this cause that helps Special Olympics athletes across the state reach their goals we really appreciate the outstanding support we have received on and off campus over the years," Noftz said.
The Torch Run is the largest annual fundraising activity for Special Olympics Ohio and raises awareness and funds for the state's more than 22,000 Special Olympic athletes. Special Olympics, Ohio Inc., is a private, non-profit corporation that is funded by private donations, corporate sponsorships and fundraising projects. It does not receive state or federal funding.
For more information or to find out how you can support the Torch Run, contact Steve Noftz at 740-593-1911 or at email@example.com or visit the Special Olympics Ohio Web site at www.sooh.org.