June 11, 2015

SIU police provide boost to Special Olympics

Members of the SIU Department of Public Safety participated this week in two events in support of Special Olympics efforts. 

On June 8, Sgt. Chad Beights and Cpl. Adam Cunico participated in a 10-mile bike ride from Herrin to Carbondale as part of the Special Olympics World Games Unified Relay Across America. The department has participated in Special Olympics events for several years. 

The relay is part of a 46-day event where people throughout the nation will carry the Special Olympics Flame of Hope across the country and deliver it to Los Angeles for the Special Olympics World Games, which are July 25 to Aug. 2. The Flame of Hope is the same flame from the 2011 World Summer Games in Athens, Greece. All funds from the Unified Relay go to Special Olympics to provide training, competition opportunities and programming that empowers people with intellectual disabilities to become accepted and valued members of their communities, according to relay officials. 

The department, along with help from the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 193, Vic Koenig Chevrolet, Paradise Pools and Spas, and Tammy Vaughn with Allstate Insurance, raised nearly $2,000. 

On June 10, SIU police, along with members of the Carbondale Police Department and Illinois State Police, participated in the annual Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Illinois. 

About 40 officers and two Special Olympics athletes participated in the 12.6-mile relay from Carbondale to Marion. The torch run culminates with the Illinois Summer Games in Bloomington Friday through Sunday, June 12-14. 

For more than 33 years law enforcement personnel have participated in the Torch Run, the largest year-round fundraising event for Special Olympics Illinois. Other fundraising events include Polar Plunge, Polar Donut Dash, Cop on Top, and Chili’s Tip a Cop. To date, the Law Enforcement Torch Run has raised nearly $28 million. 

Beights and Cunico will participate in the opening ceremonies of the Illinois Summer Games on Friday by carrying the Leg 11 Flame of Hope into Illinois State University’s Hancock Stadium.