LaPlata, Md. --
Nearly 200 Marines and sailors with Chemical Biological Incident Response Force, II Marine Expeditionary Force, participated in the 2009 Maryland Special Olympics Torch Run, here, June 4.
CBIRF is a unit of active-duty Marines and sailors who respond to chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive incidents.
While CBIRF Marines and sailors help take care of the homeland, they also take care of their community, said Gunnery Sgt. Roderuck Shriver, battalion training chief, Headquarters and Service Company, CBIRF.
“A lot of people get caught up in the fact that [service members] only handle combat situations overseas. To me, taking care of our local community is just as important,” Shriver said.
Officers and athletes ran with the “Flame of Hope” torch in the 2009 Maryland Law Enforcement Torch Run, which raises funds and awareness for special needs people around Maryland for Special Olympics.
For Marilyn Borrell, area director, Charles County Special Olympics, the “Flame of Hope” is a constant reminder of her daughter, Emily Borrell, who the torch was dedicated to.
“She was a special needs child; visually impaired, hearing impaired, had scoliosis, and diabetes, but that didn’t bother her spirit,” Borrell explained. “She started training when she was seven, started competing when she was eight and was in training until the night before she passed away at 22-years-old.”
Special Olympics events allow special needs people to become a part of a team. For Emily, training for Special Olympics’ events was a mainstay in her life.
“[Training] was her life,” Borrell said. “She literally lived for Special Olympics. Because of Special Olympics, she was able to be Maryland State’s Athlete of the year…and she was in the inaugural parade for [former president Bill Clinton] representing Special Olympics.”
Emily impacted many people’s lives, said Borrel. So, people donated money to dedicate a “Flame of Hope” to Emily’s memory.
“She was an inspiration to everyone,” Borrell said. “When she passed away, money was donated; the torch was purchased and designated in her memory. Even nine years later, people talk about her and her spirit.”
Remembering special needs people like Emily, the Marines and sailors volunteered to run with other public servants.
“It doesn’t matter if we’re law enforcement officials or Marines; we’re all doing the same things. We’re here to serve and protect, and having the Marines here last year, really created awareness for the Special Olympics,” explained Sgt. Gus Proctor, run participant, Charles County Sheriff’s office. “Having the Marines sing cadence and run in formation was a huge deal.”
The run benefited athletes with Maryland’s Special Olympics program, but the athletes were not the only ones who benefited from the run.
“Everyone benefits from this event, because when we come out here and do something positive, that brings out the morale and motivation in our unit. When people see the Marines supporting the community, that makes them want to support those who need it,” said Lance Cpl. Angelo Edwards, run participant, A Company, CBIRF.
Having been an active volunteer with Special Olympics, Shriver said he is grateful for having the chance to support such a wonderful cause.
“It makes my day,” Shriver said. “I’ve done Special Olympics Torch Runs every year since 1994, and it makes me a little more appreciative of who I am and the chances I have in my life to support someone else.”
Marines and sailors do more than just fight on the front lines of combat and take care of the homeland; they also take care of their fellow Americans.