PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The summer games of the Pennsylvania Special Olympics may not be until later this week, but it got off to an early start Tuesday morning.

Over 200 members of law enforcement are helping to carry the torch to the big event.

The journey is taking law enforcement across the state carrying and handing off the torch to kick of the 2012 Pennsylvania Special Olympics.

The 150-mile trek started at PNC Park. Athletes got the chance to circle around the ball field before the torch journeys to State College where over 2,000 people will participate in the Games.

Pittsburgh Police were on the first leg of the three-day trip. They handed the torch to Allegheny SWAT.

Created through a partnership with the Pa. Special Olympics and law enforcement, the ceremonial torch run is only in its second year. They’ve been able to raise nearly $100,000 in just the past two years.

“We have $20,000 athletes across the state that participate in over 200 competitions every year. And that’s simply not possible without the great support of community partners,” Pa. Special Olympics President Matt Aaron said.

“It’s life changing. It’s life changing for everyone that gets involved. It’s life changing for both of us. We learn from each other,” FBI Spokesperson Kelly Kochamba said.

Kochamba has created a friendship with athlete Jessica Clayton through this partnership with law enforcement and the Special Olympics.

Jessica said it’s been her mission to spread the word and be a spokesperson herself.

“Telling people that they should appreciate us. I think that’s important. More people should get involved with Special Olympics because we’re like everybody else,” Jessica Clayton said.

The torch is expected to arrive in State College on Thursday, which will kick off three days of competition.


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