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Carrying a torch for a cause: Special Olympics torch run passes through Tri-Counties

The Special Olympics torch run in Santa Barbara County Wednesday.
John Palminteri
The Special Olympics torch run in Santa Barbara County Wednesday.

Hundreds of runners from law enforcment agencies in San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura Counties take part.

Hundreds of Special Olympics athletes from around Southern California are coming together this weekend in Long Beach for the annual Summer Games.

The annual torch run to support and raise money for the games is passing through the Tri-Counties this week.

The Special Olympics torch is moving though Ventura County Thursday after passing through Santa Barbara County Wednesday.

"The torch symbolizes a flame of hope that law enforcement officers carry around the world...over 100,000 officers are participating," said San Fernando Police Lieutenant Irwin Rosenberg. He's the state director of the torch run.

Rosenberg said law enforcement’s involvement is more than symbolic. The Southern California volunteers raised $1.7 million for the Games last year. Since 1981, the total raised by all law enforcement agencies internationally is more than a billion dollars.

Why do they do it?

"It's a great reward of heart for being a part of such a great cause," said Rosenberg.

The two week torch run covers more than 1100 miles. The torch arrives in Long Beach Friday night for the games on the Cal State Long Beach campus this weekend.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.