WADSWORTH — Traffic was backed up for blocks Monday afternoon on High Street as runners with the Law Enforcement Torch Relay heralded the Special Olympics.
The relay began at 69 Taps, 300 Weatherstone Drive, and participants ran 2½ miles to Greenwich Road. Ten relay members — five from the Wadsworth Police Department, two from the Montville Township Police Department, one Medina County sheriff’s deputy and two Wadsworth residents — ran for 22 minutes in Special Olympics Ohio T-shirts.
“Yeah, we held up some traffic but we did it to raise awareness,” Wadsworth Officer Matt Markley said. “Participants in the Special Olympics are athletes, too, and we want to show our support.”
Markley said Wadsworth police were able to raise $500 for Special Olympics Ohio and the relay is just one of the fundraisers the department participates in to support Special Olympics.
“We run and have fundraisers to let the participants in the Special Olympics know that we’re behind them and to raise awareness about it,” he said.
Barberton Detective Shannon Davis said Medina County raised $3,000 to support Special Olympics Ohio. As the organizer of the torch relay, Davis also had a leg in Brunswick, which happened earlier in the day.
“We really appreciate the support that the county has given us,” she said. “It will make a big difference.”
Davis said the first leg of the Law Enforcement Torch Relay began Monday morning in Amherst and different legs will continue throughout the state and conclude Friday at Jesse Owens Stadium in Columbus for the beginning of the Ohio Summer Special Olympics.
“Today’s legs of the relay started in the four corners of Ohio and different legs will make their way down to Columbus — all to raise awareness for this cause,” she said.
The Special Olympics will run through Sunday with more than 2,800 Ohio athletes competing, according to the Special Olympics Ohio website.
Contact Becky Tener at (330) 721-4012 or firstname.lastname@example.org.