CHICAGO - The Illinois Special Olympics local 'Kick-Off' festivities at Malcolm X College was a great start to the 2003 Law Enforcement Torch Run despite the rainy conditions on Tuesday morning. The run is supported by the Drug Enforcement Administration and numerous other State, Local, and Federal Law Enforcement agencies that pass the Special Olympic Torch as part of an intrastate relay en route to the Special Olympic Games in Normal, Illinois. Each June, more than 3,000 Law Enforcement Officers run over 1,500 miles carrying the 'Flame of Hope' through the streets and towns of Illinois to raise money and increase public awareness of the athletes of the Special Olympics Games.
The annual 'Kick-Off' Run and ceremony was hosted by the Cook County Sheriff's Police this year with Sheriff Michael Sheahan and Chief Marjorie O'Dea presiding over the festivities.
Chicago FBI Special Agent Ken Veach's daughter, Molly Veach, accepted the torch from a Cook County Mounted Officer as a representative of the Special Olympic athletes. Ms. Veach then passed the torch to runners, including her father, Ken, Sheriff Sheehan, and U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, who led approximately 400 law enforcement representatives from the Chicago area through the streets of Chicago in support of this year's event.
DEA-Chicago was proud to participate in the Chicago Special Olympics 'Kick-Off' and is equally proud to carry the 'Flame of Hope' on a less populated rural area as DEA's portion of the run. DEA Associate Special Agent in Charge Bill Segarra represented the DEA at Tuesday's ceremony and will also lead DEA runners in the torch run today north of Kankakee - leading the fund raising charge for the Illinois Special Olympics children.