Coronado to Serve as Host Town and Stop for the Flame of Hope for 2015 Special Olympics World Games

    The world is coming to Coronado. On July 18th, the Crown City will serve as one of several Host Towns in San Diego County for the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles. More than 100 cities in Southern California are participating in the Host Town program, a special 3-day program prior to the games during which delegations of athletes from around the world are welcomed and celebrated. The Host Towns provide recreation, entertainment and cultural exchange to the 7,000 athletes and coaches from 177 countries.

    Coronado’s role in the 2015 games will begin with the Law Enforcement Torch Run, which is the largest grassroots fundraiser and public awareness vehicle for the Special Olympics. The law enforcement community has a longstanding relationship with the Special Olympics. In the early 1980’s, Wichita, Kansas Police Chief Richard LaMunyon developed the torch run as a way for local law enforcement to be involved with and support the Special Olympics. Since then, more than $500 million has been raised by the law enforcement community internationally. This year, the Flame of Hope, which was lit in Greece, will travel to the United States where it will make its way throughout the country and Southern California, ending at the Opening Ceremony on July 25th in Los Angeles.

    On July 18th, the Flame of Hope will arrive at Tidelands Park at 9:00 a.m. and travel to the Ferry Landing, Centennial Park and then down Orange Avenue to Spreckels Park at 10:00 a.m. for a community welcome ceremony. During the ceremony, Mayor Casey Tanaka and Coronado Police Chief John Froomin, as well as torch runners, will deliver remarks. A cultural exchange of gifts will take place followed by musical entertainment. From there, the torch will continue its journey onto La Jolla.

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    “We are thrilled to be a part of this experience,” said Froomin, who is serving on the local organizing committee. “It’s a great way for our local community to be involved and show who we are and what we’re all about.”

    The Law Enforcement Torch Run involves officers and athletes who run the Flame of Hope to the Opening Ceremonies of local, state and national Special Olympics Games. Each year, more than 85,000 volunteer law enforcement officers participate in the torch run in 35 nations and in Canada and the United States.

    “Our involvement with the Law Enforcement Torch Run helps show the humanitarian nature of our law enforcement community,” said Froomin. “Our officers are good people.”

    Today, the Torch Run also involves various fundraising initiatives including t-shirt and merchandise sales, polar bear plunges, tip-a-cop and building sits, among others.

    Coronado is joined by National City and Chula Vista to serve as the South San Diego County Host Town, one of eight San Diego collaborations to participate in the Host Town program. On July 22, the Hotel del Coronado will host “California Beach Experience” for more than 100 athletes and coaches from Puerto Rico and Argentina for games, dinner and a beach bonfire. The delegates will then spend time in National City and Chula Vista.

    2015 Coronado Host Town sponsors include LAZ Parking, Hotel del Coronado, Lil Piggy’s BBQ, Linder Kids, Loew’s Coronado Bay Resort.

    For more information on the Host Town program, visit www.la2015.org.

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    Mary Douglas

    Staff Writer

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