As Gilroy Police Department officers approached the intersection of Monterey Road and Masten Avenue Wednesday morning, they showed no signs of exhaustion. Instead they ran in unison with smiles plastered across their faces with one member carrying the American flag and another the Special Olympics torch: the Flame of Hope.
“It was fun, there’s a lot of pride,” DARE officer and final torchbearer for GPD Maribel Gutierrez said. “It’s for a great cause. It helps promote the Special Olympics and raise money so they can put on the Special Olympics every year.”
Guiterrez, along with members of the Gilroy SWAT team, ran four miles during the 2013 Law Enforcement Torch Run. Also participating was GPD Administrative Sgt. Pedro Espinoza, a 19-year veteran of the force.
Espinoza has participated in the run several times and said it’s important officers continue their duty as guardians of the torch.
“It’s a great opportunity for the police department to show their appreciation of the special needs community,” Espinoza said. “They put in a lot of hard work to prepare themselves for the games. … This is the least we can do for them for as much as they do for themselves.”
The GPD runners were greeted by deputies of Santa Clara County Sherrif’s Department, along with 33 cadets of the Santa Clara County Sherrif’s Correctional Academy. The runers departed with squad cars escorting them on their 3.5-mile journey down Monterey Road.
“I think the most important part of it is to show the citizens how important it is for us to have this connection with the Special Olympics,” Santa County Clara Deputy Sherrif Carrie Gordon said. “We’re out here purely for the benefit of the people competing in the Special Olympics. We just want to show support and we’ll do anything we can to show support for them.”
The Flame of Hope was handed off to the Morgan Hill Police Department when the group reached the intersection of Monterey and East Middle Avenue. It was run another four miles to Monterey and Cochrane Road where it was handed off to the San Jose Police Department. The torch was then “put to rest” for the day, starting a new leg Thursday.
The torch’s journey is far from over. It will continue its trek towards its final destination of the University of California, Davis where the Special Olympics will be held June 28.
While GPD and MHPD may have completed their legs of the run Wednesday, the Santa Clara County Sheriffs Department prepped for another 6.3-mile run Thursday through Cupertino and Saratoga.
“It’s our duty to serve and protect citizens,” Santa Clara County Deputy Sheriff Damian Camarena said. “What better way to serve than by serving these causes like the Special Olympics? It’s an honor for us to do this.”

Previous articleSpecial Olympics Torch Run
Next articleLive Oak Culinary Student Erinne Contival


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here