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Torch Run raises cash for Special Olympics
• Ceres Police lead in fundraising
Torch Run 2024
Leading the Torch Run on June 25 were Ceres Police Officer Angel Murillo, Captain Mayolo Banuelos who is the Modesto area CHP Modesto Commander, and Ceres Police Officer Mike Ferriera. - photo by Contributed to the Courier

Police officers throughout Stanislaus County put on their running shoes last week to run over three miles for a good cause last week – Special Olympics of Northern California.

“Everything went break – we had a great turnout,” reported Ceres Police Department Lt. Jeff Godfrey who organized the event.

Ceres Police hosted the Tuesday, June 25 morning run representing all of Stanislaus County. Officers took off from the Community Center, made their way past Smyrna Park on Fowler Avenue, south on Mitchell Road and back to the center. The run started at 9 a.m. but by the time the run was over, the increasing heat had added to the physical toil of the sweat-drenched officers. Godfrey said next year he may start the run earlier at 8 a.m.

“On the way back when we went going southbound on Mitchell and westbound on Whitmore, that stretch of Whitmore, I don’t know what it was but that was a killer,” commented Godfrey. “I guess it was all that heat coming off that asphalt.”

Some people lined Fourth Street to encourage the officers and “going down Moffet we actually had a lot of people outside of their house with signs cheering us on,” he added.

“It was pretty great. And then when we went to Smyrna Park we probably had a group of 15-20 people, some them were obviously a part of special Olympics or had disabilities.”

Carrying the Special Olympics torch for a portion of the run was California Highway Patrol Captain Mayolo Banuelos who is the commander for the Modesto Area CHP division

Dropping by but not running like he did last year was Stanislaus County District Attorney Jeff Laguero. He had a Board of Supervisors meeting to attend and could only offer his support and send off the officers. The district attorney’s office was represented by runner and an assistant DA Wendell Emerson.

Ceres Police Department alone raised $21,195 for Special Olympics which benefits special needs children and adults. Modesto Police raised $695.

Officers pay $40 to participate in the run and received a Special Olympics dry fit runner shirt. The proceeds support Special Olympics Summer Games which took place at Santa Clara University last weekend. The event brought together special needs persons from all over Northern California to compete in Olympic style games.

“We get a lot of good support for the cause. People don’t realize it but everybody has a friend or family member or knows somebody who has in their family somebody with an intellectual disability. Special Olympics goes farther than you think sometimes.”

Local Starbucks employees set up a booth at the center to serve free breakfast, pastries, drinks to officers.