Penn Stater leads Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics

May 27, 2009

Bob Stonis is organizing the run and fundraising event that kicks off Special Olympics Pennsylvania Summer Games at University Park campus

University Park, Pa. — Before Special Olympians begin competing in the 2009 Special Olympics Pennsylvania Summer Games June 4–7 at Penn State's University Park campus, Pennsylvania law enforcement officers will carry the "Flame of Hope" to the opening ceremonies at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 4, to kick off the statewide games. Bob Stonis, Penn State Justice and Safety Institute associate director of Law Enforcement Training Programs, will lead the Law Enforcement Torch Run® for Special Olympics for the third year.

"Through the Law Enforcement Torch Run, we raise money and awareness for Special Olympics," said Stonis, who has served as Pennsylvania's Law Enforcement Torch Run representative in Idaho for the January Special Olympics World Winter Games. Stonis also paraded with Special Olympians during President Obama's inauguration day events.

Founded in 1981, the Law Enforcement Torch Run raised $34 million for Special Olympics programs worldwide in 2008.

Pennsylvania's 2008 Torch Run drew 30 law enforcement officers and other volunteers and raised $700 for Special Olympics. The 2.5 mile run begins at the Nittany Lion Shrine, winds through campus and ends at Jeffrey Field, where the torch is handed off to Special Olympians who light the flame that will burn throughout the four days of competition.

Stonis is hoping for a great turnout this year. Participants may include Penn State football players, high school athletes and others. Stonis notes the event is not just for law enforcement officers; everyone is welcome. "We go at a very slow pace, so all types of runners can participate," he added.

To participate in the June 4 Law Enforcement Torch Run or to make a donation, contact Bob Stonis at 814-863-9090 or

Penn State's Justice and Safety Institute (JASI) helps thousands of law enforcement and justice system professionals improve their work skills — something it has been doing for more than 35 years. JASI serves a broad clientele and its services extend to courts, child support enforcement and domestic relations issues, such as training for federal, state and international clients, including the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service. JASI is the sole provider of mandated basic training to Pennsylvania’s deputy sheriffs and has developed and administers the Pennsylvania Child Support Enforcement Training Institute. It also has conducted child support enforcement services for New Jersey and Delaware. For more information, visit online. JASI is part of Penn State Outreach, the largest unified outreach organization in American higher education. Penn State Outreach serves more than 5 million people each year, delivering more than 2,000 programs to people in all 67 Pennsylvania counties, all 50 states and 80 countries worldwide.


  • For photos of last year's Special Olympics opening ceremonies, click on image above.

    IMAGE: Penn State

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated November 18, 2010