Andy Rooney of Pillager was honored as the 2008 Special Olympics Minnesota Outstanding Law Enforcement Torch Run Volunteer on Saturday at the annual distinguished service awards banquet in Bloomington. The awards recognize Special Olympics Minnesota athletes, coaches, volunteers, sponsors and family members who demonstrate an incredible amount of support, enthusiasm and time commitment to the organization.
Rooney, formerly an officer with the Baxter Police Department and currently a law enforcement instructor at Hibbing Community College, has been involved with Special Olympics Minnesota since 1994. Beginning in 2000, he started plunging in several Polar Bear Plunges around the state to raise money for Special Olympics Minnesota. Then in 2006, Rooney coordinated and plunged in Brainerd's first Polar Bear Plunge fundraiser on Pelican Lake in Breezy Point.
Rooney has run his local leg of the Torch Run for Special Olympics Minnesota, the Capital Mile and run the Flame of Hope into Special Olympics Minnesota Summer Games Opening Ceremonies. He is the local Law Enforcement Torch Run coordinator for his area. Rooney helps out at local Special Olympics events, volunteers at state competitions to hand out awards, volunteers at Summer Games Olympic Town and even organized a Torch Run float for the Brainerd Fourth of July parade.
In 2007, Rooney was recognized for his outstanding efforts and accepted a position on the Minnesota Law Enforcement Torch Run Executive Council, to which he devotes many hours of his time.
"With the help of people like Andy, Special Olympics Minnesota is able to bring communities together," said Dave Dorn, Special Olympics Minnesota president. "This award is our small way of recognizing Andy's important contribution to the success of our programs."
The banquet was at the Minneapolis Airport Hilton in Bloomington.
Special Olympics Minnesota offers children and adults with intellectual disabilities year-round sports training and competition. Through Special Olympics' athletic, health and leadership programs, people with intellectual disabilities transform themselves, their communities and the world.
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