Pittsfield police officer to participate in 2013 Special Olympics torch run
PITTSFIELD -- A city police officer is among the seven people representing Massachusetts at the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games in late January.
John Bassi, an investigator in the Pittsfield Police Department's crime scene unit, will participate in the torch run that will take place in South Korea.
The Olympic flame will arrive in South Korea on Jan. 21. It is scheduled to arrive in PyeongChang, which is due east of Seoul, on Jan. 29 for the opening ceremony.
Bassi leaves for the southeast Asian country on Jan. 20. He will be joined by one other volunteer and five Special Olympians from across the state.
Bassi said he's in shape to handle the 8 to 10 miles a day he and the other torch runners will cover.
"I've been running 2 to 3 miles every other day for the past year and a half," he said. "Along the way, I'll be doing some public speaking and maybe get to hand out some medals at the games."
Three years ago, Bassi got involved in Special Olympics through the Massachusetts Law Enforcement Torch Run program, a year-round fundraising and advocacy partnership between police and Special Olympics.
Bassi said the Special Olympics helped his son Jake Bassi, now 9, become more active and make new friends. Jake, who has autism, attends Crosby Elementary School
"It certainly has increased his social skills and given him opportunities he otherwise would not have, like horseback riding," he said.
Since 2009, Bassi has recruited 70 fellow officers into the Torch Run Program, collectively raising more than $100,000 this year alone to support the year-round activities of Special Olympics Massa chusetts, according to the organization.
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