Run honors fallen hero, raises funds for the Special Olympics - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Run honors fallen hero, raises funds for the Special Olympics

Troy Barboza Troy Barboza
Major Kurt Kendro Major Kurt Kendro
Nancy Bottelo Nancy Bottelo

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Friday night marked a special start to the Special Olympic Summer Games. Flames lit up the night at Les Murakami Stadium, inspiring thousands to live life like a young police officer who spent his helping others.

Each year, Hawaii's Law Enforcement Officers and Military Personnel run to raise money for the Special Olympics. It's a torch run that carries the name of a hero. Troy Barboza was a Honolulu Police officers who was murdered 24 years ago, but his flame is still burning bright.

Twenty-five flames of hope, brightened the night, all to honor a fallen hero and the cause he believed in. A close friend of Barboza's, Major Kurt Kendro, said Barboza loved coaching, loved helping, and loved being a part of the Special Olympics. Kendro has run in memory of his good friend in the First Hawaiian Bank Troy Barboza Law Enforcement Torch Run nearly every year, for the past 25.

Kendro expressed, "He was like a brother.You could always depend on him, he motivated, he was strong, and his memory lives on." Not only a brother, but a son, and a friend, whose life was cut short on October 22, 1987, when Barboza was just 24 years old. He was an undercover narcotics officer, gunned down by a drug dealer.

Around the world, the Law Enforcement Torch Run raises awareness for the Special Olympics. It's a cause Troy Barboza gave much of his time to as a coach and mentor. Plus, the torch run, was a race he ran, during his last year alive. Nearly 2500 runners pounded their feet on the pavement, and carried on his legacy. Nancy Bottelo, the C.E.O. of Special Olympics Hawaii, "The law enforcement community gives so much. It means the world. We couldn't do this without their generosity and hard work.

An event and a night Troy Barboza would have really been proud of. Kendro believes the same thing: "I think he'd be amazed, he'd be proud of all the athletes. It wasn't about him, it was always about the athletes, so I know he's up there loving it right now. It's an incredible feeling."

After the run, Mayor Peter Carlisle gave the proclamation to start the Special Olympics, "I declare the Summer Special Olympics Games open!"

Hawaii's event is the only torch run program in the world to be named after a fallen police officer.

Copyright Hawaii News Now 2011. All rights reserved.

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