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Relay raises funds for Special Olympics

April 29, 2002|By MARIO RENTERÍA

Staff Writer

CALEXICO — Imperial County law enforcement officers gathered Saturday at the downtown port of entry here for the annual Law Enforcement Special Olympics Torch Relay.

The relay raises funds for Special Olympics teams in the Imperial Valley.

"It's such a good feeling to see law enforcement come together for a great cause," said El Centro police Lt. Tim Blankenship.

The participating agencies are U.S. Customs, Border Patrol and Immigration and Naturalization Service detention, California Highway Patrol, county Sheriff's Office, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration FBI, Calexico police and El Centro police.

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Representatives from El Centro City Hall also participated in the relay along with Special Olympics athletes and their parents.

The torch relay started at the downtown port and headed north to Heber. From Heber it headed northwest to El Centro, where it ended at the Conrad Harrison Youth Center after a tour through the city.

The last mile of the relay is called the "glory mile," in which all officers, athletes, parents and other participants run the mile together.

At the youth center, barbecue plates awaited the participants.

"We had a real good participation this year," said Blankenship. "We haven't counted the money but this year we really pushed on all the participants to bring in a minimum of $100 and it seems everyone brought in more than that."

Calexico police Lt. Jim Neujahr said there was a fine response from Calexico residents.

"It's always a good thing for the law enforcement to be able to give something back to the community," said Neujahr.

"We're not only bringing recognition to the Special Olympics but giving some recognition to law enforcement," he said.

The money raised will help pay for the athletes' equipment, trips and games.

>> Staff Writer Mario Rentería can be reached at 337-3441.

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