Special Olympics Torch Passes Through Holmdel, Hazlet
The annual run on Route 35 North by police officers raises money for the Special Olympics in Ewing, NJ, which begins tonight.
A large contingent of police officers, first aid volunteers and high school students, all in running shoes, participated in the NJ Law Enforcement Special Olympics Torch Run down Route 35 North today as part of a 60 mile journey that ends in Ewing NJ.
Like last year, the sun beat down hard on the runners as they ran along the shoulder of the highway. The Holmdel team accepted the torch at the Palmer Avenue Exxon, and handed it to the Hazlet team at the Rave Movie Theater in Hazlet, who carried it to Keyport officers at the shared border. The run continued all the way to Perth Amboy.
This was Holmdel Det. Sgt. Louis Torres' final Torch Run, after organizing the event for 31 years.
"The last run was a success," he said, moments after the hand-off. "We got more people than I expected, and it was great."
The Holmdel officers were Michael Dowens, Jonathan Martin, Brian O'Keefe and Tom Foley. Holmdel First Aid Squad members Lourdes Alcaraz, Candace Stefflre, Lauren Reidy, Andrew Ming, Mitchell Li and Steve Wolkowitz also participated.
They were joined by Holmdel High School students Eric Williams, Lennon Cooper, Marin Warner and Dave Yelencsics.
Representing State Police was operations officer Joe Castellano and tactical patrol officer Dave Korecky, both of the Holmdel Barracks.
An honored guest at the event was Claudio Mirro of Holmdel, who is Holmdel Police Officer Dowens' aunt. She participated in the Special Olympics in her youth, in skiing, swimming, long jump and bowling events. Her mother, Phyllis Mirro of Holmdel, recalls the event 35 years ago. "I was so proud of her, she did very good," she said.
Holmdel Fire Company #2 provided the escort.
In Hazlet, Police Chief James Broderick and Lt. Det. Charles McBride took the torch to Keyport.
The highly organized run along the Island Beach - Perth Amboy route is organized by two Port Authority officers who live in Hazlet. Kevin Murphy and Frank Aresta began their day at Island Beach State Park at 4:45 a.m. and monitored the run all the way to Perth Amboy, stopping in 35 towns along the way.
The flame will ignite the Opening Ceremonies of Summer Games on June 8 at 7:30 p.m.