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Group of law enforcement, civilians from C.T., N.J. climb Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise money for C.T. Special Olympics


HAMDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — A group of law enforcement officers and civilians from Connecticut and New Jersey climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania to raise money for Connecticut Special Olympics. 

Mt. Kilimanjaro, or “Kili,” is the tallest peak in Africa and the tallest mountain in the world measuring from base to summit. It stands at 19,341 feet. Officers and civilians from both states set out to place the flag at the summit in honor of Special Olympic athletes. 

The 12-person crew that left for Tanzania on Feb. 16 included: 

  • Team Cheshire: Lt. Mike Durkee and Officer Dave Maliar of the Cheshire Police Department, 
  • Team Guilford: Lt. Tim Bernier of the Guilford Police Department and Laurie Harder of Guilford, 
  • Team Naugatuck: Detective Tom McGarvey of the Naugatuck Police Department,
  • Team Putnam: Detective Donna Brown of the Putnam Police Department, 
  • Team Watertown: Deputy Chief Josh Bernegger and Lt. Tim Gavallas of the Watertown Police Department,
  • Team Wilton:  Lt. Rob Kluk and Lt. Dave Hartman of the Wilton Police Department 
  • Team New Jersey: Sgt. Ralph Fiasco Jr. and Sgt. Mandy Grey of New Jersey.

The crew prepared and raised funds for months leading up to this expedition.

Each team member committed to raising a minimum of $10,000 for Special Olympics Connecticut.

The climb was organized by Connecticut Law Enforcement Torch Run, whose overall mission is to raise funds and awareness of the Special Olympics movement.

On Feb. 24, Special Olympics Connecticut posted on Facebook congratulating the crews for their hard work conquering Kilimanjaro.

Courtesy: Special Olympics Connecticut

Special Olympics Connecticut provides year-round sports training and competitions for more than 13,000 athletes of all ages with intellectual disabilities and Unified Sports partners – their teammates without disabilities. 

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