Special Olympics Torch Run, Festivities Coming Through Conejo Valley

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Hoisting of the Flags at the Torch Lighting Ceremony in Athens, Greece. Patrick McClenahan, Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles 2015 (LA2015) President and CEO and Joanna Despotopoulou, Special Olympics Hellas President, stand with the Flame of Hope at the Sacred Site of Pnyx.

The Law Enforcement Torch Run® (LETR) Final Leg for the Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles 2015 (LA2015) will come through Calabasas and Thousand Oaks, with ceremonies to be held in the respective on Friday, July 17.

Scheduled to speak at Calabasas City Hall at 10:45 a.m. are Mayor Lucy Martin, Captain Patrick Davoren of Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff Station, Special Olympic athletes and Final Leg runners Stefano Lucarelli and Joshua Norris.

“Calabasas is so proud to be part of the Special Olympics Torch Run journey and the excitement building in the world as the games approach,” said Mayor Lucy Martin in an email to CV Happening. “Being a host town for the Great Britain Special Olympics delegation is inspiring for our whole community and the torch run really adds to the circle of inclusion spirit. The Chamber of Commerce, the Lost Hills Sheriff Department and the City of Calabasas are looking forward to seeing our whole community out as the torch passes through.”

The athletes will run from the Calabasas Tennis and Swim Center to the Calabasas Civic Center along Park Sorrento, Park Granada, Calabasas Road and Civic Center Way, according to the city website. Traffic and parking restrictions will be in force along the route.

In the Host Town of Thousand Oaks, the Torch Run ceremony is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. at the Civic Arts Plaza.
The City has partnered with the Conejo Recreation and Parks District, the Greater Conejo Valley Chamber
of Commerce, Conejo Valley Unified School District, California Lutheran University as well as a host of other
local non-profit organizations to host the delegates.

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The Head of Delegation of the four countries that the City will host in July. Photo: City of Thousand Oaks

“This is a unique opportunity for the City of Thousand Oaks,” said Council Member Joel Price in a press release. “Having been part of the July 1995 Special Olympics World Games in New Haven, Conn., I’ve seen first-hand the
impact these games can have on the lives of these Special Olympics athletes. Thousand Oaks is excited for the opportunity to be part of these games and looks forward to showcasing our wonderful city for the athletes. During an early meeting to discuss the possibility of being a Host Town, we could already feel the excitement building. Nobody at that table had to give it a second thought, everyone was in.”

In addition to Friday’s ceremony, Thousand Oaks will host a Community BBQ on Wednesday, July 22 from 4:30-7 p.m. at Conejo Creek North Park, 1379 Janss Rd. Click here to download the flier.

The Law Enforcement Torch Run is the largest grass-roots fundraiser and public awareness vehicle for Special Olympics in the world raising over US $500 million for Special Olympics since its inception in 1981. More than 100,000 law enforcement members in all 50 U.S. States, 12 Canadian provinces/territories, and 47 other countries contribute to LETR efforts annually as Guardians of the Flame®, ensuring the delivery of the Special Olympics Flame of Hope to the Opening Ceremonies of local Special Olympics competitions, state/provincial Games, and national/regional Games. Law Enforcement officers and Special Olympics athletes are selected by their respective Special Olympics Programs to be one of the 124 Final Leg Team members based on their dedication and commitment to the Special Olympics Movement. Over the course of its journey, the Final Leg will visit more than 127 cities, towns and communities and travel 4,648 miles.

Community members are encouraged to join the celebration alongside law enforcement to express support for these athletes. Throughout the journey of the Final Leg, law enforcement officers from around the world will be spreading the message of acceptance and inclusion for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

The Special Olympics Flame of Hope will complete its journey on July 25, 2015 when the Law Enforcement Torch Run Final Leg team carries it into the Opening Ceremony of the 2015 World Games and hands the Flame of Hope off to Special Olympics athletes who will ignite the cauldron at the historic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, site of the 1932 and 1984 Olympic Games. The public will be able to see daily photographs, videos and read reports of the Flame of Hope’s journey online at: LETR-FinalLeg.org and on social with #FinalLeg2015 on Facebook and @LETRforSO on Twitter. 

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