HARTFORD — Special Olympics Connecticut marked 25th Anniversary of their Law Enforcement Torch Run on Thursday evening by honoring a State Trooper killed in the line of duty earlier this year, further illustrating the strong bond between the organization’s great athletes and the men and women who protect our cities and towns. The annual Torch Run began Wednesday and will conclude Friday evening at the 2011 Summer Games Opening Ceremony at Southern Connecticut State University. The 540-mile run traverses through 100 communities, including the June 9 stop in Hartford for a rally on the north steps of the Capitol building. The rally in Hartford was particularly poignant. Officers accompanying the Flame of Hope ran through a rainstorm on their way to the Capitol to honor the memory of TFC Kenneth Hall—a 22-year veteran of the Connecticut State Police who was killed in the line of duty along Interstate 91 in September 2010.
Hall, a father of four, was a U.S. Marine Corps veteran with a distinguished career as a trooper—handling routine patrols, presidential visits and everything in between.
Athletes, however, knew Hall as someone who “was always around” for them, said state Rep. Christie Carpino, a longtime Special Olympics volunteer herself.
“Trooper Hall was a true guardian of the flame,” Carpino said.
Hall’s wife, Sheila, was at the Capitol, where volunteers and athletes recognized his dedication to Special Olympics Connecticut with an honor created specifically for him. Carpino also gave Hall’s wife a Connecticut flag that she had flown over the Capitol building earlier this year.
Earlier Thursday, Carpino spent time in her district talking to athletes at a Middletown rally and rooting for runners accompanying the torch.
Special Olympics Connecticut staffers and law enforcement officers worked with Carpino to put together the rally’s details—holding a recent meeting in the Legislative Office Building to discuss topics such as volunteer recruitment and parking at the Capitol.
Carpino, who represents Cromwell, Middletown and Portland, is a regular volunteer on a leg of the Torch Run. She supports the runners escorting the Flame of Hope as it winds through the communities in the 32nd General Assembly District.
More than 1,500 law enforcement personnel and athletes are expected to participate. The officers represent local, state, federal departments, agencies and correctional facilities. Last year, the Law Enforcement Torch Run Program raised $518,000—all of which benefits programs and services for Connecticut athletes. They aim to raise $550,000 this year.
Pictured (left to right): Special Olympics Connecticut president Beau Doherty, state Rep. Christie Carpino, Sheila Hall, Connecticut State Police Lt. J. Paul Vance.