Event Recap: Special Olympics Torch Run
By Jennifer Ersalesi
Photos by Sgt. Julie Ann Zeigler
On Friday, June 7th at approximately 10:45 am, local Rutherford Police Department officers ran the length of Park Ave in support of the Law Enforcement Torch Run Special Olympics, New Jersey. Detective Frank Inglese explained, “The route Rutherford participates in for the Torch Run begins at the Rutherford Train Station. Participants run the length of Park Avenue (approximately 1.2 miles) in Rutherford and end and hand over the "Flame of Hope" to Lyndhurst Police Department participants at the corner of Stuyvesant Avenue and Park Avenue. Rutherford is part of Leg #6 of the South Bergen County Torch Run with other legs taking place nation and statewide simultaneously. Our particular leg begins in Garfield at 8:30am, where the Torch is lit, and ends in Harrison.” The flame travels 750 miles to light the cauldron to signal the start of the summer games, which is the largest competitive event for the Special Olympics.
This year there were a number of runners from the Rutherford Police Department: Officers: James Fecanin, Alexandra Arnold, John Ahearn, Brian Caughey, Katherine Calienni, and Anthony Bachmann (who ran in full uniform), Detectives Russell Snyder, Frank Inglese, and Curtis Moore, Lieutenant Marc Amatucci and Chief John Russo. There were also 6 runners (Jack Whaley, Gavin Siengsanaoh, Kerry O'Keefe, Rachel Wronko, Chris Corcoran, and Taha Faiq) from Rutherford High School, including Athletic Director David Frazier. David Frazier explained, "Our varsity club donates its energy, efforts, gifts, and time to several organizations throughout the school year and it's important to be a part of something with a great purpose like the SONJ. The efforts of these club members along with the RPD both raised funds and awareness of the special olympics and we hope to continue participating in years to come!" “Each year we would like to see more high school students run with our members. It is a great way to show their support of the Summer Olympic Athletes. Additionally it allows time for community bonding between the students and members of our department,” Sgt. Julie Ann Zeigler told TIR.
In addition to the runners, there were other participants from the Rutherford Police Department, including: Officers Bruce Reed and Thomas Donovan, Detectives Alford Anderson and Michael Garner, Sergeant Julie Ann Zeigler, Lieutenant Anthony Nunziato, and Captain Patrick Feliciano.
Sgt. Zeigler explained, “Last year I began inviting the surrounding nursery schools and Kindergarten Center to cheer our runners from the sidelines of Park Ave. Chief John R. Russo authorized hiring a crossing guard specifically for the estimated event time so that the Kindergarten Center is able to participate. We are extremely appreciative for all of their support and look forward to seeing their posters and hearing their cheerful words of encouragement and support.”
“Rutherford has been involved with the Law Enforcement Torch Run for multiple decades. The RPD believes our involvement is for a great cause and allows us to continue to show our commitment, not only the general public, but also to the local families of the athletes that participate in the Special Olympic events year round,” Det. Frank Inglese told TIR.