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GLENS FALLS — Maxwell Jackoski grabbed the torch and bolted down Glen Street.

The 23-year-old Special Olympics athlete brought the “Flame of Hope” Olympic torch through downtown Glens Falls for a fundraiser on Tuesday afternoon to prepare for Saturday’s games at Siena College.

The Glens Falls branch of the Law Enforcement Torch Run began in Schroon Lake and ended in the city. The statewide-event is spearheaded by local police agencies. In Glens Falls, it was State Police, Glens Falls City Police and Warren County’s Sheriff’s Office and Correctional Department that led the function.

For Jackoski and his family, the event spurs unity and support for the athletes.

“It’s all about inclusion and love and helping one another,” Maxwell’s mother, Lisa Jackoski said.

The funds go toward helping family members attend the Special Olympics. For this year’s event, it is expected to raise $10,000, and over the past 10 years, it raised around $100,000.

State Police Trooper Earnest Barboza was at Glens Falls City Hall after the run. Barboza stated he helped start it locally with his wife over a decade ago.

Barboza enjoyed the police’s solidarity in the run. He added that it wasn’t just the patrolmen that are often seen by the public but the behind-the-scenes officers and correctional police that made it come together.

And, most importantly, the athletes had the opportunity to shine.

“For us, it’s about raising that money, doing it for these kids because we want to,” Barboza said.

Fellow Special Olympics athlete Chad Hildreth was at the finish line with Maxwell Jackoski. Hildreth said he ran from Martha’s Dandee Crème in Queensbury.

“I am feeling good right now,” Hildreth said. “Kind of tired.”

Hildreth has participated for the past 10 years. In Saturday’s Special Olympics, he will compete in the 100 meter, 200 meter, relay and running long jump.

Jackoski, who shook Hildreth’s hand after letting go of the torch after the run, will compete in the 100 dash, on the relay team and in the softball throw.

Jackoski was concise with his words after the run, but his smile and energy during the downtown dash said it all.

“It was fun,” he said.

The torch run will continue at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday from the Washington County Jail in Fort Edward, traveling south to Mechanicville Public Library.

Andrew David Kuczkowski is the education reporter. Andrew can be reached at 518-742-3354. Follow Andrew on Twitter: @ByKuczkowski.

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