News: Special Olympics Hawaii hosts annual Troy Barboza Law Enforcement Torch Run
Story by Kristen Wong
HONOLULU — More than 900 runners from law enforcement agencies around the state of Hawaii carried a torch for the Special Olympics Hawaii athletes to Les Murakami Stadium at the University of Hawaii, May 25.
The Troy Barboza Law Enforcement Torch Run was named in memory of Troy Barboza, a former Honolulu Police Department officer and Special Olympics coach.
Officials from various agencies including the Coast Guard, the Honolulu Police Department and the FBI annually raise funds for the nonprofit organization.
Barboza, of Clayton, Calif., was shot and killed by a suspect he previously arrested in a narcotic investigation. Although the Law Enforcement Torch Run is a regular fundraiser for Special Olympics
chapters across the nation, the Hawaii chapter made its run unique by naming it after Barboza.
“I don’t think there’s anything more phenomenal than seeing officers running on their off duty time for a good cause,” said Nancy Bottelo, the president and CEO of Special Olympics Hawaii. “It’s an honor for the athletes to be recognized by the people in the law enforcement community.”
Bottelo said the torch run not only raises funds through T-shirt
sales, [more than $60,000 this year] but also raises awareness of the Special Olympics programs and the athletes.
Participants chose between running three miles from Fort DeRussy in Waikiki or walking one mile from First Hawaiian Bank’s Kapahulu Branch to the stadium.
The runners entered the stadium, ushering in the start of the Special Olympics’ annual Summer Games.
The Summer Games are three days long, and include various sporting events such as power lifting, track and field, and softball. This past weekend, more than 1,000 athletes and coaches participated in the Summer Games.
Officer Derek Hinkley, crime prevention officer, Provost Marshal’s Office, participated in his first torch run this year. Hinkley, of Kaneohe, said he enjoyed seeing the look on the athlete’s faces as he entered the stadium.
“It made me feel happy,” Hinkley said. “It made me feel like I was giving back. They were the best fans I’ve ever had.”
Hinkley has also volunteered with another Special Olympics fundraiser, “Fueling Dreams,” earlier this year, among other volunteer efforts such as the Windward Neighborhood Security Watch.
Sgt. Timothy Lobb, the watch commander for PMO, also participated in the torch run, for his second year in a row.
“At the end of the run we ran into the stadium and were cheered on by hundreds,” Lobb said.
He described the feeling as similar to what he imagines football players might feel when they enter a stadium at the start of a game, but on a smaller scale.
Lobb has also been involved in other fundraisers for the organization, including Cop on Top and Tip a Cop. He said he plans to continue to volunteer for Special Olympics while he is stationed in Hawaii.
“What keeps me going is the community,” Lobb said. “The people that work with the Special Olympics events are really close and they make it fun.”
Hinkley said if anyone from PMO or the base want to be involved in Special Olympics, they can contact him or Lobb. For more information about Special Olympics, visit http://www.specialolympicshawaii.org.