Powell officer helped run torch to Special Olympic games
July 26, 2018
For the second time, a Powell police officer was chosen to participate in a nationwide torch run to help fundraise for the Special Olympics USA Games. Officer Matt Koritnik traveled to Seattle for the Final Leg of the Law Enforcement Torch Run, which helps gain awareness and support for Special Olympics athletes.
The Final Leg Law Enforcement Torch Run chooses one officer to represent their state, and six team leaders. This time, Officer Koritnik participated in the event as a team leader.
“Being in the Final Leg Torch Run is a once in a lifetime experience,” Koritnik said. “I am incredibly honored to have gone twice.”
In 2014, Koritnik attended the event as a runner — and the officer was inspired by the athletes and people he met.
For the torch run, six athletes are chosen from each state to run with the different officers.
“Running in this event gives a different perspective on what it means to help people,” Koritnik said when talking about the impact the event had on his job as an officer.
Unlike most events, the Special Olympics USA Games is free for participants as well as spectators. Fundraisers such as the Final Leg help pay for athletes to participate and provide them with the needed equipment for each sport.
“The Special Olympic Games are life-changing,” Koritnik said.
The Powell Police Department makes efforts to help those with intellectual disabilities. Powell PD holds a Torch Run of their own that helps raise awareness, and officers grew out their beards this past winter to help raise money for the Special Olympics program.
“Powell Police Department is one of the top fundraisers for Special Olympics,” Koritnik said. “We want to make sure all athletes are accepted and included.”
To get involved with the Special Olympics and for more information, visit www.specialolympics.org.
By Mary Kousoulos, Powell Tribune