By Patrick Buffett, Fort Lee Public Affairs

FORT LEE, Va. – Ten military and Army Civilian police officers participated in the final leg of the Virginia Law Enforcement Torch Run as it passed through Fort Lee Friday morning.

The run is an annual event in support of the Special Olympics Virginia Summer Games in Richmond. Police departments and friends of the law enforcement community across the commonwealth team up for the 7-day, 1,900-mile journey in which the “Flame of Hope” is carried across the state to raise awareness of, and encourage donations to, the Special Olympics program.

Fort Lee’s portion of the run started at Sisisky Gate where a group from the Hopewell Police Department handed the torch over to Maj. Joseph Tull, post Provost Marshal. He and nine others representing the PMO and the 217th Military Police Detachment were accompanied by 21 fellow officers and supporters from the local community as they made their way across the installation via Adams, Mahone and Lee avenues before exiting the Lee Gate. Several police cruisers accompanied the procession and used lights and sirens as an attention-getting safety measure.

“You can’t help feeling proud as you run alongside the civilian police forces from the local community,” Tull said after the event. “I know my entire team is excited about its participation in the torch run. We work daily with local law enforcement partners (Hopewell, Petersburg and Colonial Heights) to ensure Fort Lee is safe and secure. There already is a sense of teamwork in that regard. However, getting together for a great cause like Special Olympics allows us to strengthen our cohesion even further and demonstrate our resolve to be community partners and friends.

“All in all, it was a great experience carrying that torch and sharing some camaraderie and laughs with the other participants,” the major added. “I’m very proud of the law enforcement team here for stepping up and enthusiastically supporting this event that helps the athletes of the Special Olympics program.”

The torch run began on June 6 in Richmond and an estimated 2,000 participants statewide supported the effort. The journey concluded with the lighting of the Special Olympics Virginia Summer Games cauldron Friday evening at Robins Center on the University of Richmond campus. More than 1,500 athletes, their families and several hundred volunteers participated in the games that concluded with a Saturday night dance social.