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Special Olympics, torch run return in person

LIHU‘E — Kaua‘i Special Olympics athlete Ka‘iwiakala Alana was overflowing with excitement Saturday morning at Vidinha Stadium.

“He just wants to run,” said his mother, trying to bundle the youngster against the cold wind that buffeted the growing crowd of parents, friends and volunteers, including about three dozen associates from the Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i Resort &Spa.

Kaua‘i Police Department Chief Todd Raybuck collected the group clad in commemorative Troy Barboza Law Enforcement Torch Run shirts, stopping to greet Alana in the crowd.

“He’s one of the first people I met when I got here three years ago,” Raybuck said. “We’ve been friends ever since.”

The First Hawaiian Bank Troy Barboza Law Enforcement Torch Run is unique, Raybuck said. There are torch runs throughout the nation, and even globally. But this is the only run that’s named for a fallen law enforcement officer.

Barboza was a detective with the Honolulu Police Department, he said. He died in the line of duty. One of the last things he did was participate in the torch run for Special Olympics, where he was a coach.

County Department of Parks &Recreation Director Patrick Porter represented Mayor Derek Kawakami.

“Special Olympics Hawai‘i — Kaua‘i Area, and its core volunteers, serve more than 100 athletes,” Porter read from a mayoral certificate recognizing the Troy Barboza Run and the Special Olympics games.

“The program would not be successful without its many volunteers participating in fundraisers that support training opportunities such as the annual Torch Run, bowling tournaments and ‘Cop on Top’ events,” Porter read.

The year-round Special Olympics opportunities in several sports provide continued opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage and experience joy and personal fulfillment associated with sports training, competition and life.

Among the numerous volunteers, Sarah Tochiki and the Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School Jazz Ensemble provided nearly nonstop music for the field that included the Kapa‘a High School JROTC Color Guard, the CKMS Unified Team, the football and cheer teams from Kapa‘a and Kaua‘i high schools and many others.

And through the morning excitement, Ka‘iwiakala Alana ran.

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.
Source: The Garden Island

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