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174th Security Forces participates in Torch Run

HANCOCK FIELD AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, SYRACUSE, Ny. -- Chief Master Sgt. Michael Ramsey, 174th Attack Wing Security Forces Manager, and 15 members of the security forces squadron participated in The Law Enforcement Torch Run.

The Law Enforcement Torch Run is a fundraiser that benefits Special Olympics and brings about public awareness around the world.

Thousands of officers have carried the "Flame of Hope," which signifies the relationship the officers have with the athletes of Special Olympics New York.

From the day it was started, more than $6.5 million has been raised through this fundraiser.

Close to 2,000 officers that represented more than 200 law enforcement agencies across the state of New York participated in the torch run.

It happened to be the first time that the 174th Security Forces has participated in the summer torch run, which is held annually.

The purpose of this event was not just to help with special needs athletes, but to have team building with the local police departments.

"This team building experience is huge. It opens up doors between us and the local police departments," said Ramsey.

Ramsey also participated in the Winter Olympics and was surprised at how much attention the athletes showed the troops.

"Our participation really makes their day," said Ramsey.

"The athletes loved the uniforms and gravitate towards them. I think our uniforms had a big impact on the athletes," said Ramsey.

"Once we teamed up with the police department we formed what was called the big blue line," said Ramsey. "We have all the troops make a line and we high-five the athletes as they come out to participate in the event."

The torch run started in Fayetteville at the Town Center Mall and ended at the Wal-Mart in Camillus for a total of over 16.4 miles. Members of the 174th as well as local law enforcement carried the torch for the entire run.

Ramsey plans to participate in this fundraising event for years to come
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"I'm looking for volunteers to help with this every year," said Ramsey. "This is a big deal."

"Once you interact with these athletes and see one of their smiles, you're hooked."