Rumford retired police sergeant carries the torch for Special Olympics World Games in Russia
RUMFORD – Retired Police Sgt. Douglas Maifeld of Rumford will be part of the Law Enforcement Torch Race team delivering the Flame of Hope at the Opening Ceremony of the January 2022 Special Olympics World Games in Kazan, Russia.
Maifeld, 56, serves in Regional School Unit 10 as a school resources officer for the Rumford Police Department.
“This is the opportunity of a lifetime,” he said on Friday. “It’s very important because it helps raise awareness about Special Olympics.”
Maifeld, who has supported Special Olympics for 33 years, will represent Maine on the Finals team, which consists of 120 members from 46 states and 25 countries, including 96 law enforcement officers, 10 Special Olympics athletes and logistics staff.
Team members will also participate in a polar bear dive called the Blue Lake Leap in Kazan to benefit Special Olympics.
âYes, the water is constant at 48 degrees all year round and the air temperature should be around 19 degrees,â Maifeld said.
He has a fundraising page on app.mobilecause.com/vf/Leap/DouglasMaifeld, with a goal of $ 3,000. As of July 1, $ 500 had been raised.
âPlease help if you can. No amount is too small!â He said. Donations can also be sent via [emailÂ protected] or 207-370-8405.
âI found out that 75% of the money raised by my fundraising jump into the lake would stay in Maine for the Special Olympics,â he said.
The team will embark on different routes, running with the torch in cities and communities across Russia at various events, honoring the spirit of the global Special Olympics movement and delivering a message of hope to communities where people with intellectual disabilities continue to fight for acceptance and inclusion.
Maifeld said there were 10 teams and he was in Team 1.
âEach team will race in different regions of Russia. We will go from city to city and talk to the Russian people about what Special Olympics is all about, with the help of an interpreter, âhe said.
Maifeld said he would also post photos from his experience at the event on his page, School Resource Officer – SRO Douglas Maifeld, and share them on the Rumford Police Department Facebook page.
After his return, he wants to use photos from the experience to make public presentations to raise awareness about Special Olympics.
The start of Maifeld’s career with Special Olympics began with an order from his chief of police.
âThe then chief threw a hat and a T-shirt at me and said ‘Here. Go do it ‘and I haven’t stopped doing it,’ he said. âI didn’t have anyone I knew who had a disability or anything like that. Everything was new to me. Once I got involved I got hooked, âhe said.
âSpecial Olympics have a very special place in my heart. I received a lot more from them in return than I could give, âhe said.
For the 34th time, Maifeld will participate in the Maine Torch Run for Special Olympics in Orono on October 28. Usually held in June, it was postponed due to COVID.
He will be racing primarily with other officers at Dixfield for this leg of this race.
According to the Special Olympics website, the Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Race is the largest local fundraiser for Special Olympics.
More than 110,000 law enforcement personnel in all 50 U.S. states, 12 Canadian provinces / territories and 44 other countries contribute to the efforts each year as Keepers of the Flame, ensuring the delivery of the Flame of Hope. Special Olympics at the opening ceremonies of local Special Olympics competitions, state / provincial games and national / regional games.
The law enforcement community has raised over $ 750 million for Special Olympics. All dollars are collected during law enforcement off hours and funds remain local to the communities they protect and serve.
Founded in 1968, Special Olympics is a global movement to end discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities. It fosters acceptance by all through the power of sport and programs in education, health and leadership.
With over six million unified athletes and sports partners in over 190 countries and territories, and over one million coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics offers over 30 Olympic-style sports and over 100,000 games. and competitions every year.
Learn more about www.SpecialOlympics.org.
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