Border Patrol Agents from Buffalo Sector recently joined law enforcement partners from the Buffalo-Niagara region to participate in the “Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics”.
The Torch Run is the largest public awareness program and grassroots fundraiser for Special Olympic athletes. Known as the “Guardians of the Flame,” area law enforcement members and Special Olympics athletes carried the "Flame of Hope" into the opening ceremony of local competitions and also into state, provincial, national, regional and world games.
More than 85,000 officers in over 35 countries, and in all 50 U.S. states, participate annually in the event, which began in the 1980's and has raised more than 500 million dollars to support Special Olympic athletes.
This year the journey ended with the Buffalo Sector’s “Badges On The Border” run, which started at the Niagara Falls Discovery Center, and continued through Niagara Falls. The run ended with American officers and agents meeting Canadian counterparts at the middle of the Rainbow Bridge, while handing off the “Flame Of Hope” for Canada's Summer Games. While Border Patrol agents in the Buffalo area have participated in the Torch Run for years, last year marked the first year the run was extended to the border.
“We are extremely excited to be holding the Badges On The Border again this year with our brothers and sisters from Canada. The race shows law enforcement solidarity on both sides of the border for the Special Olympics,” said Deputy Patrol Agent in Charge Jeff Wilson of the U.S. Border Patrol’s Niagara Falls Station. “Our agents’commitment to Special Olympics is a particular point of pride with everyone serving in the Buffalo Border Patrol Sector.” Wilson is also serving as the Western New York Regional Torch Run Director for 2016.
The experience was captured in a photo in front of Niagara Falls of runners and Special Olympics athletes lighting a torch, symbolically joining the two countries for a great cause. The natural majesty and power of Niagara Falls showcased the power of hope of Special Olympic athletes.