The 33rd annual Delaware Law Enforcement Torch Run kicked off the Delaware Special Olympics Summer Games on Friday, June 14, 2019.
The events surrounding the run started Wednesday in Rehoboth Beach and then spread Thursday along three Sussex County routes before uniting at Harrington for a trip into Dover and then Odessa.
The final leg of the run started at sunrise at Delaware State Police Troop 9 in Odessa with a stop at New Castle County police headquarters in Minquadale.
It was there that New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer asked everyone in attendance to remember the Special Olympics motto: 'Let us win. But if we do not win, let us be brave in the attempt.'
"I think that's something that unites all of us this morning - Special Olympians and police officers. Focusing on those things that we can do, our abilities and the extraordinary things we can do together, and also our bravery.
"The tremendous bravery of Special Olympians and our officers out every single day."
New Castle County Police Chief Colonel Vaughn Bond was this year's law enforcement chairman for the event and says it was eye opening.
"Having an opportunity to engage with the men and women of the Special Olympics of Delaware has truly opened my eyes to the amount of work and effort that they put forth to serve individuals who are suffering from intellectual disabilities."
Delaware State Police Captain Daniel Hall has been involved with Special Olympics for three decades and says the torch run is Special Olympics' biggest fundraiser.
"In Delaware (last year) we raised over $950,000 which allowed over 4200 athletes to compete in 22 different sporting competitions.
"The athletes we run for view all law enforcement officers as their heroes. You can see that in how they react to any law enforcement officer in uniform. The hug and smile they give to law enforcement officers is immeasurable and priceless."
Delaware State Police Superintendent Colonel Nathaniel McQueen joined with other officers for a stretch of the run along Route 13 near Delaware City.
"Special Olympics has become a part of who we are. It became a part of me as a young trooper and it continues today."