October 10, 2013CITY OF GROSSE POINTE — They’re called the Guardians of the Flame, and they lit up hundreds of miles of Michigan roadways last month raising money for Special Olympics.
“It’s the largest fundraiser strictly for Special Olympics,” said Joseph Adams, of the City of Grosse Pointe public safety department.
Adams personally raised $4,000 during the run, Sept. 9-13. Post-run pledges are still being made to the Law Enforcement Torch Run.
“I’m still raising money,” said Adams, also sergeant at arms of the state Fraternal Order of Police. “Each team has to raise $12,000.”
He and fellow law enforcement officers ran from Copper Harbor, at the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula, to an FOP hall in Sterling Heights.
Runners warmed up for the event with a dip in Lake Superior. They also visited a memorial park in Copper Harbor to honor officers killed in the line of duty.
The route meandered to Sault St. Maire, across the Mackinac Bridge and through the Grosse Pointes.
Three teams of runners representing the FOP, Michigan State Police and Michigan Department of Corrections — 22 runners total — ran the route relay-style under police escort.
“Each team does 30 miles,” said Adams. “After we’re done running, we drive 60 miles ahead and pick up the torch from the other teams.
“We averaged 8 1/2-minute miles.”
All three teams ran across the Mackinac Bridge together.
“It was a special moment,” Adams said.
His late uncle, a bridge security officer, died shortly before the run.
Adams trained three months for the event. The exercise, plus bariatric surgery, contributed to his losing 125 pounds in the past 12 months.
“I weighed 340 pounds at this time last year,” he said.
Adams also organizes an annual charity basketball game at Grosse Pointe South High School that teams area public safety officers and Special Olympians against Detroit Lions football players.
The game last April raised $6,000.
Proceeds were split between the local Special Olympics and Services for Older Citizens.