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Posted: February 25, 2011 12:30 a.m.

Officers take “plunge” to kick off Special Olympics fundraising


Law enforcement agencies around the state raised $800 to kick off their annual effort to raise money for Special Olympics with a Polar Plunge on Saturday at Lake Lanier.

According to Marisa Henderson with the Georgia Department of Corrections, law enforcement agencies have been participating in the games since 1981 (1987 in Georgia) when the Georgia Torch Run began. The torch run is an actual run where members of law enforcement and athletes run the Flame of Hope to the opening ceremony of the Special Olympics games. Law enforcement also formally guards the Flame of Hope for Special Olympics.

In 2010 more than $650,000 was raised by officers. Since its inception, Georgia officers have raised more than $4 million for Special Olympics in the state. Newton County Sheriff Ezell Brown donated $470.

"For a few days there, children and adults with intellectual disabilities will go on to compete in a high quality sports competition, interact with their peers and experience new places," said Henderson. "Participation in the State Games also means that these athletes are focusing on a goal, learning new skills and developing healthy habits that may lead to improved overall health."

The Newton County Sheriff's Department and the Georgia Department of Corrections have several more fund raising activities planned for the coming months. The big ceremony in Newton County is in May during the Spring Games.

"Special Olympics would not exist today without the time, energy, education and commitment of many volunteers," said Brown. "Special Olympics rely on people of all ages to help in every aspect of the program, local and state level. We are proud to be a part of a worthwhile organization. Newton County Sheriff's Office is committed to serving as a clearinghouse for the dissemination of information and other resources to raise community awareness," he said. "We encourage other organizations to become actively involved. We at the sheriff's office realize all that we do for ourselves die with us; however, those things done for others live forever."

For more information about helping or donating, contact Henderson at (770) 784-2705.



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