2011-05-26 / Front Page

Trooper To Carry Special Olympics Torch

Flaherty to participate in the “Be A Fan Torch Run”
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz

Cpl. Sean Flaherty and children Cpl. Sean Flaherty and children An avid runner from a young age, it’s not a stretch of the mind to envision Needmore resident Sean Flaherty donning a pair of running shoes. In recent years he’s shared that passion with his two young children, whom he also hopes to instill with a love of volunteerism.

Next month, Flaherty, a corporal at the McConnellsburg barracks of the Pennsylvania State Police, will get the perfect opportunity to combine both life passions as a participant in the 2011 “Be A Fan Torch Run” organized by the Special Olympics of Pennsylvania.

The segmented 150-mile run will begin on June 7, at Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, and wind its way through central Pennsylvania and on to State College. Flaherty, 44, will run the 25th leg of the race and the last 2.9 miles of day two set for Friday, June 8, in the area of Duncansville and Altoona.

Flaherty will be joined during the Be A Fan Torch Run by his 11-year-old son Liam, who has been training with his father in recent years and breaking and setting school records at Southern Fulton Elementary. Flaherty’s 8-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, is also slated to join him in the final mile of his leg after traveling with the caravan of onlookers for part of the run.

Typically able to finish a mile in eight minutes, Flaherty stated he wouldn’t be saddened with an overall time of 24 minutes. However, he’s hopeful his four-days-a-week running schedule on the hills here in Fulton County will help him reach his ultimate goal of 22 minutes.

“I’m just looking forward to running on some flat terrain,” said Flaherty, who noted fellow local officers Amanda Bauer of Bedford and Dave McGarvey will also be participating in the three-day run. McGarvey, a community service officer out of the Hollidaysburg station, is touted as being instrumental in recruiting the corporal for such a worthy cause as Special Olympics.

Certainly not his first introduction to the Special Olympics program, Flaherty noted his 40- year-old stepbrother, Brian Engott, previously participated in the gymnastics portion of the Special Olympics. In addition, years later in college, Flaherty would volunteer to work with Special Olympics participants.

“I want my kids to learn at a young age that volunteering for a good cause is a worthy accomplishment. In turn, volunteerism is something I would like to see them carry on into adulthood,” Flaherty told the “News.”

The goal of the Be A Fan Torch Run is to raise $50,000 for Special Olympics of Pennsylvania. Flaherty’s personal goal is to raise $1,000 in individual donations from friends, family and the community. Anyone interested in sponsoring Flaherty in the run or making a donation to Special Olympics of Pennsylvania can do so on-line at www.kintera.org.

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