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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, May 30, 2003

Honolulu officer in Europe torch run

By Allison Schaefers
Advertiser Staff Writer

Assistant Chief John Kerr of the Honolulu Police Department is literally carrying a torch for Special Olympics.

Kerr, who has been a volunteer with Special Olympics Hawai'i for the past 15 years, left Wednesday for Athens, Greece, where he will join officers from around the world as part of the Law Enforcement Torch Run. It's the first time the run has taken place in Europe.

The run, which is carried out in every state and more than 30 countries, is a fund-raiser for the Special Olympics Summer Games, which will take place June 21-29 in Dublin, Ireland. Over the years, organizers say, the event has netted more than $1 million for Special Olympics Hawai'i.

During the international leg of the run, Kerr will join 100 law enforcement officers from around the world and 10 Special Olympic athletes selected to represent their state or country.

The representatives will carry the Special Olympics Flame of Hope torch along three routes through more than 15 cities in Europe.

At the conclusion of the torch relay, the law enforcement runners will open the Special Olympics Summer Games, where more than 7,000 athletes from 160 countries will compete. Special Olympics Hawai'i will send 13 athletes to participate as part of Team USA.

Kerr, who runs regularly and is a veteran torch runner, said: "I want to be a great ambassador of aloha over there."

On O'ahu, Kerr serves as the executive committee council chairman for the Hawai'i Law Enforcement Torch Run Committee and coordinates departmental involvement for all Hawai'i Torch Run events.

Kerr said it's an honor to have the opportunity to help open the Special Olympics Summer Games because those athletes "demonstrate courage, dedication and determination."

On O'ahu, officers will be participating this week in the First Hawaiian Bank Troy Barboza Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Hawai'i. The run concludes at the University of Hawai'i's Les Murakami Stadium this evening with the lighting of the cauldron to open Special Olympics Hawai'i's summer games.