I wish to personally congratulate all of our officers and family members from the Rio Rancho Police Department and the Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office for their participation in the 2021 Law Enforcement Torch Run state relay run and final leg benefiting Special Olympics New Mexico.
On Friday, June 11, our city had the privilege of welcoming the Flame of Hope torch as it made its way south from Taos, through Rio Rancho and into Albuquerque to join the three other torches that started from Farmington, Las Cruces and Carlsbad.
These torches were passed from agency to agency until on Saturday, June 12, they were united as one and carried the final three miles to light Special Olympics’ cauldron at the Cottonwood Mall.
As a Rio Rancho resident, I can’t tell you how proud I am of the level of passion and commitment our officers, deputies and their families gave in carrying the Flame of Hope torch despite the record summer heat on their backs and miles of pavement under their feet. And they weren’t alone.
In fact, over 500 officers, friends and family members from over 40 public-safety agencies throughout the state carried the Flame of Hope across 1,600 miles of New Mexico roads and highways.
They did this shoulder-to-shoulder alongside their respective local community leaders and citizens — providing hope and opportunities for sports training and competition to children and adults with intellectual disabilities.
Rio Rancho Police Department, I’m pleased to say, is a model agency for building an inclusive community with and for Special Olympics athletes.
Despite not having an in-person Special Olympics Summer Games to “kick off” as in normal years, the cauldron flame signified a deeper meaning of hope to local and statewide Special Olympics athletes and their families amidst this past year’s social and physical limitations caused by the pandemic: Your needs and capabilities were not forgotten. We have your back. The games are coming back!
There are so many honorable efforts that go into making our community a great place in which to live, to work and to play.
For me, it’s standing alongside our public-safety agencies as we work with and for various causes to build inclusive communities that inspire hope and opportunity for all.
I encourage my fellow Rio Rancho and Sandoval County residents to seek these experiences wherever and whenever they may be available.
Oscar Solis
Rio Ranch