The Special Olympics World Games will take place in Los Angeles from July 25th to August 2nd. This global event will feature 7,000 athletes from 177 countries, 30,000 volunteers and an anticipated 500,000 spectators.
An integral part of the World Games is the traditional Law Enforcement Torch Run; an annual running event that acts as the largest grass-roots fundraiser and public awareness vehicle for Special Olympics. Law enforcement officers from all over the country will escort the torch around California before the start of the World Games.
Each state nominated one law enforcement member to represent their state at the Law Enforcement Torch Run. Sgt. Bruce Merriam of the Stowe Police Department was chosen as the Vermont representative. Sgt. Merriam has been a member of the Stowe Police Department since 1984 and has been participating in the Vermont Law Enforcement Torch Run for just as long. More recently, Merriam has joined the Special Olympics Vermont Torch Run Executive Council, where he has proved to be a great asset in the councils goals to support and advocate for Special Olympic athletes. Merriam is ready for California, “It’s a great honor to represent Vermont at a global event. I’m proud of the work we’ve done to build Torch Run momentum at home and looking forward to experiencing it on the international scale.”
Merriam will escort The Flame of Hope, accompanied by law enforcement officers from the other 49 states, via three routes. All three routes start in Sacramento on July 13th. Over the next 17 days, the torch will make its way through California. The three routes will converge in Los Angeles on July 24th for the Opening Ceremonies of the World Games which will be held in the Memorial Coliseum.
Two Vermont athletes have qualified to compete in the 2015 World Games as part of Special Olympics USA. Hunter Hall of White River Junction will compete in level 5 golf and Lorna Tibbits of Swanton will compete in bowling.