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Torch run benefits Special Olympics

Modified: Wednesday, Jun 19th, 2013

(Photos by Michael Gagarin)

WATSONVILLE — The Special Olympics “Flame of Hope” worked its magic in Watsonville Wednesday, thanks to officers and others who ran while carrying it down Main Street to Freedom Boulevard, more than five miles, before handing it to California Highway Patrol officers in Corralitos.

The annual Law Enforcement Torch run benefiting Special Olympics Northern California, conceived in 1998, began Monday in Fresno County and ends in Davis for the June 28 start of the nonprofit’s Summer Games. Similar torch runs were held in a handful of other counties Wednesday, including in Santa Clara County. 

At 8 a.m. Wednesday, Watsonville officers and staffers carried the flame while running carefully alongside the side of Freedom Boulevard with a small convoy of officers insuring safety.

Watsonville detective Charlie Bailey said they got some nice waves and honks of support, and that one woman ran alongside them for a while, with her dog, wanting to know what they were up to and wanting to encourage them.

Aptos-based  CHP officers took the torch at the historic “Five Mile House” on Freedom Boulevard at Corralitos Road. From there, they carried it about seven miles to Rio del Mar beach, handing it to State Parks. The torch ended its county run in Scotts Valley Wednesday afternoon.  

CHP officer Nick Petrinovich ran with about 10 CHP officers and support staff; some of whom joined in a bit further down the road. 

For him it was nothing new, as Petrinovich said he spent many childhood hours on Special Olympics soccer and track fields with his older brother, John, who was born with Downs Syndrome. Their dad was a coach and Nick has coached and volunteered all his life, he said.

For the complete article see the 06-20-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 06-20-2013 paper.

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