Undersecretary Toche lights cauldron to start games
Photos and story by Don Chaddock, InsideCDCR editor
Video by Jeff Baur and David Novick, CDCR TV Specialists
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Employees from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation aided other local law enforcement agencies in carrying the Special Olympics torch to the State Capitol, kicking off the Northern California games.
Press Secretary Jeffrey Callison and Community Reentry Services Deputy Director Cynthia Florez-DeLyon and many other CDCR representatives, including members of the Division of Adult Parole Operations, ran from Beal’s Point at Folsom Lake to the Capitol. They were greeted by Special Olympics athletes and officials, law enforcement officials and CDCR Secretary Jeff Beard.
Later the same evening, CDCR Undersecretary Diana Toche used the torch to ignite the cauldron at UC Davis for the summer games opening ceremony.
Doug Lee, with the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, said the torch made its way across Northern California to end up at the Capitol.
“It’s gone through 25 counties before coming here,” he said.
California Highway Patrol Commissioner Joe Farrow said it’s a privilege to be a part of Special Olympics.
“This is an important thing we do here,” he said. “I’m so proud. I want to thank Special Olympics for allowing us the ability to help send these athletes to the games. They often thank us, but we thank them.”
Dan Winter, with the Santa Clara Police Department, served as the Law Enforcement Torch Run Director.
“Law enforcement doesn’t fundraise because someone orders them to, it’s because we want to give these athletes a chance to compete,” he said.
He thanked CDCR for being so supportive of the Torch Run. He also recognized the department as the largest fundraiser in the state.
“We had Tip-A-Cop events recently and we had no one signed up in the Folsom area,” he said. “After one phone call, CDCR stepped up and over-staffed the event. Thank you.”
CDCR Secretary Beard said the department is committed to helping the athletes and is actively raising funds for the coming year.
“In 2014, CDCR became the top contributing law enforcement agency with $133,000 raised by our staff statewide for the Special Olympics,” he said. “Our involvement in the Special Olympics each year is something that is very important to us. I know I speak for all my staff, all the peace officers and staff participating in this event, when I say how honored I am to be a part of this celebration.”
Secretary Beard said CDCR plans to retain its position as the top-fundraising agency.
“If you want to knock us off, you’re going to have to work hard,” he said.
After the Torch Run ceremony, Undersecretary Toche said she was excited to be lighting the cauldron.
“I am honored,” she said. “Before joining the department, I was a practicing physician and I had patients who participated in Special Olympics. Now, I get the opportunity to expand my involvement through CDCR.”
CDCR teams participating in the final leg of the Northern California Torch Run included Headquarters, Division of Adult Parole Operations, California Medical Facility, Mule Creek State Prison, CSP-Solano, CSP-Sacramento and Correctional Training Facility, Soledad.
Across the state, CDCR employees waited tables for Tip-A-Cop, participated in other fundraisers and carried the Special Olympics torch in cooperation with other law enforcement agencies.