Flame of Hope runs deep; Law Enforcement Torch Run celebrates 50th year in support of Special Olympics athletes

Tillsonburg News
 Fri May 18 2018

The Flame of Hope has made it’s way through Oxford.

The Ontario Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics made its way through Tillsonburg on Saturday. The event, while in support of Special Olympians worldwide, was held to raise awareness for Tillsonburg’s four Special Olympics athletes who are set to compete this summer.

Oxford OPP Const. Stacey Culbert explained the connection between local law enforcement and the athletes has always been amazing and said she wants to make sure that everybody knows these athletes are, indeed, special.

“They work very hard. Some of them have intellectual disabilities, but we want to make sure we’re supporting all people and making sure they’re able-bodied to do whatever their hearts desire,” said Culbert. “We know how great sport can be, building teams, building those relationships. We want them to know they’re very well supported in this community, in Oxford County and throughout Ontario.”

This year, each of the athletes raised $1,200 in order to participate in the games. All funds raised from the Torch Run will go towards local Special Olympics programs.

Bocce players Corey Mullholland and William Ypma will be participating in the National Summer Games in Antigonish, n.S., from July 31 to Aug. 4 while Rick Buck will compete in golf. The national Summer Games are a qualifier for the 2019 world Summer Games in Abu Dhabi, United Empire Emirates, next March.

Zach Phipps is taking part in the National Bowling Championships in P.EI. from May 13 to May 17, where it will be his third year participating in five-pin bowling.

Phipps helped carry the Flame of Hope for part of the run, an experience he hasn’t had before. He explained how thankful he was to see how much of the community came to the event to support him and his fellow athletes.

“It’s amazing that they all come out to support people that most of them don’t even know. It really means a lot,” he said.

More than 50 supporters, including law enforcement officers, friends and family, coaches and athletes, took part in the event that took the torch throughout Tillsonburg, concluding with a walk down Broadway.