Nineteen Officers from the Morris County Sheriff’s Office Bureaus of Corrections and Law Enforcement – along with K-9 Kai, a Belgian Malinois – on Friday shared a nearly 8-mile leg of the 37th annual Law Enforcement Torch Run to benefit Special Olympics NJ.
“I’m truly proud of the Officers from both Bureaus of the Morris County Sheriff’s Office who care about advancing an honorable and significant cause like the Special Olympics, which is close to many of our hearts,” said Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon.
The Sheriff and Bureau of Law Enforcement Undersheriff Richard Rose stopped by with encouraging words at Headquarters Plaza in Morristown, where 15 Officers from the Bureau of Corrections gathered to receive the torch. Clad in matching T-shirts bearing the Special Olympics Torch Run logo, the Officers ran a 3.7-mile leg around the Morristown Green and down Route 202 to Zamrok Way in Morris Township.
There, they passed the torch to four Officers from the Bureau of Law Enforcement, including K-9 Section Detective Corporal Michael McMahon, who ran with K-9 Kai. Together, they were dubbed #TeamKai, and captured the title in March 2020 of “America’s Top Dog” by winning the A&E Network’s reality show series of the same name.
Detective Corporal McMahon and Kai were joined in their 3.7-mile leg of the Torch Run to the Olde Mill Inn in Bernards Township by Sheriff’s Office Chief Kelley Zienowicz, Sergeant John Rospond and Sheriff’s Investigator Ashley Craig.
In a show of great camaraderie, some of the Bureau of Corrections Officers continued running with the Bureau of Law Enforcement team after reaching Zamrok Way. The team passed the torch to two Harding Township Officers, Michael Resciniti and Nick DeMaio, while enroute to the Olde Mill Inn. Ultimately, the torch was passed by Morris County Sheriff’s Officers to Bernards Township Officers.
On one stretch of the run, Morris County Sheriff’s Officers ran back to support an Officer participating in the event who had fallen behind.
Officers contributed at least $100 apiece to participate, with all proceeds going to Special Olympics NJ. The Torch Run – which extends nearly 80 miles from High Point State Park in Sussex County to the College of New Jersey in Ewing Township – is normally held in June to formally kick off the opening ceremony of the Summer Special Olympics NJ. The event was canceled due to COVID-19 but the Torch Run was rescheduled as a fundraiser to support the cause.
This year’s runners from the Bureau of Corrections were Lieutenant Andrew Bileci, Lieutenant Michael Schweizer, Sergeants Brian Kooger, Rob Horvot and Leon Pollison, and Officers Heather Russell, Gina Figliuolo, Nicole Levendusky, Justin Sudol, Kristin Murphy, Eric Brauner, Ada King, Jillian Schweizer, Raymond Miller and Manny Flores.
Morris County Sheriff’s Office Detective Sergeant Dave Kenny and Corrections Bureau Sergeant Robert Doriety, along with an Officer from the Hanover Police Department, provided a motorcycle escort along the route. The motorcade following the runners included New Jersey State Police and Morris County Sheriff’s Office vehicles.