‘One more good thing’

Annual torch run raises money for Special Olympics

News Photo by Julie Riddle Teens and cops run to earn money and raise awareness for Special Olympics at the annual Law Enforcement Torch Run Moday.

ALPENA–Police officers in T-shirts mingled with 32 fleet-footed teenagers Monday at the annual Law Enforcement Torch Run in Alpena.

The Alpena High School cross country team participates yearly in the event designed to build awareness and draw financial support for Special Olympics Michigan, an organization dedicated to providing year-round sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

Alpena joined more than 40 communities around the state in the annual event, a cheerful herd of runners following a police escort down Chisholm Street and State Avenue.

Weston Domke, 17, participated in the run for the third time on Monday. He and his teammates arrived at the Public Safety Building for the start of the run already warmed up after a two-mile run from the high school.

Domke, like most of the team, enjoys the annual run simply because it’s a chance to pound the pavement. It’s also important, though, to help other people when you have the chance, the runner said.

“If they can’t do it for themselves, who else is going to do it for them?” Domke said as he and the team stretched before the run..

Senior Kaylee Rondeau, 17, has participated in the torch run for four years. Running is therapy, she said.

“It’s a way to express yourself, and be active and get yourself going,” the teen said. “It’s a way for them to push past that disability and work forward and a way for them to not feel disabled.”

At the Alpena Township South Side fire station, where the run ended, runners were rewarded with pizza and thanks.

Many of the cross country team members bring monetary donations to the run, coach Joy Bullis said. She asks the teens to participate in the run each year to give them something positive to do for the community.

“They’re good kids who do good things anyway, so, hey, let’s do one more good thing,” Bullis said.

Julie Riddle can be reached at 989-358-5693, jriddle@thealpenanews.com or on Twitter @jriddleX.