Special Olympics torch makes run through Merced

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The flame traveled 20 miles from UC Merced to Highway 99 in Livingston with a special escort. (KFSN)

The Special Olympics torch made its way through Merced County Wednesday.

In less than 2 weeks, the Special Olympics will take place in Davis.

"I think it's really important for the community to see law enforcement involved in something other than enforcement," Chief Al Vasquez with the UC Merced Police Department

The flame traveled 20 miles from UC Merced to Highway 99 in Livingston with a special escort.

"We care what we do on duty and we care a lot about what we do off duty," Matthew Van Hagen with Merced Fire said.

Dozens of first responders from throughout Merced County laced up for the event that raises money and awareness for the Special Olympics.

"It's near and dear, and it's a good cause," Earl Stokes with USP Atwater said.

"It's a great opportunity for the police department to give back to the community and be involved in the community where were living and working," Emily Foster with the Merced Police department said.

"Knowing every agency is out here doing their part to give back to the community and showing support for the community and the Special Olympics torch run it makes me proud," Aldo Garcia with the California Highway Patrol said.

Every hundred dollars raised in the Law Enforcement Torch Run sends three athletes to the Special Olympics, like Dallas Young.

"We got him involved in Special Olympics about 8 years ago and it helped him," his father DeWayne said.

Just shy of his 21st birthday, Dallas' athleticism doesn't stop at track and field.

"Basketball, golf, bowling and anything," Dallas said.

Beaming with pride, Dallas got to cheer on his biggest fan, dad and coach.

The summer games are a big part of the young family.

In addition to fighting fire for the city of Merced, DeWayne coaches track and basketball for the Special Olympics.

"It got stepped up a few notches there's always been a good turn out but this is overwhelming," he said.

More than $36 million will be raised for the Special Olympics worldwide.
Related Topics:
societyspecial olympicsmerced countyMerced
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