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35th anniversary torch run a community effort

February 19, 2015
Lake Placid News

To the editor:

Friday night Feb. 13, 35 years to the day since the Opening Ceremony of Lake Placid's 13th Winter Olympic Games, the flame in the Torch Tower Cauldron was reignited.

I wish to thank everyone who came to enjoy and participate. Plus I need to acknowledge all the people who helped make it possible.

Article Photos

The cauldron’s flame glows in the night during a relighting ceremony Friday, Feb. 13 at the North Elba Showgrounds.
(News photo — Matthew Turner)

Early event promotion was expertly handled by Sue Cameron and the believers at her office. As always, Jim McKenna brought his positive energy.

Darci LaFave organized the hand-held torch run overseeing every aspect of its historic procession from the 1980 rink to the Opening Ceremony grounds. Darci culminated her involvement by being the final runner who brought the flame to the base of the torch tower.

Lake Placid Police Chief Bill Moore provided for runner safety and support. Lake Placid Police Officer Jim Staats commanded the lead vehicle. Justin Roy followed the runners in the Lake Placid Volunteer Fire Department command center, backed up by bus driver George Smith, who provided assistance and transportation.

Jeff Jacques was very instrumental in our plans-arranging for the transportation and plowing the standing area in front of the torch for the safety and comfort of the viewing public. Thank you all for such active participation!

Tony Carlino agreed, Rebecca Dayton put it on the schedule and Matt Morganson took care of flashing the tower lights at the ski jumps to signal the torch was close to the Showgrounds.

Professional photographer Jordan Craig used his talent to memorialize and document this torch relighting.

The following list of decorated local athletes carried the American flag and the hand-held torch: Darci LaFave, Billy Whitney, Bob Morganson, Kirk Fasking, Michaela Harlow, Dave Smith, Mary Smith, Dave Balestrini, Steve Eldred, Loring Porter, Colleen Porter, Sandy Izzo, Bill Izzo, Nick Fitzsimmons, Charlie Cowan, Veronica Byers, Karl Zaunbrecher, Roy Holzer and Bob Tysen.

Next a big shout out to the people at the horse show (Opening Ceremony) grounds who made it all work.

Notably, Lori Martin, Horse Show executive director, was the very first person I spoke to about holding this event. Her enthusiasm and positive feedback allowed me to keep this event moving forward.

On the night of the event, Lori, her daughter Lorissa,and Kara Kennedy provided warmth and homemade refreshments. It was all done with their great joy in support of this community event.

The "do-it-all" guy, Butch Martin, attended to all the details at the showgrounds. Snow removal for access to the tower was done by Tracy Daby. Zach Clark stood in the subzero temps to insure safe orderly parking.

On location, we were entertained by radio station WSLP favorites Jim Williams and the most energetic new morning show host, Ethan Gawel.

WSLP teamed up with nationally known talent Greg O'Brien to announce the status of the torch relay and provide the stirring program leading up to the cauldron lighting.

Microphones and sound system were provided by (always there when you need him) Eric Granger of Placid Productions.

Now let's talk about what made this event special-the flame!!!

You all need to know that it is not possible to have a torch relay without Denny Allen.

For 35 years, Denny has unselfishly given his own time to insure others get an Olympic-style experience. There should be a medal category for Denny, who continues to do so much to promote and facilitate an unlimited number of multiple events.

Thanks also to Ironman race director Greg Borzilleri and Olympic Museum director Alison Haas helping supply historical background. Also, Northern Adirondack Code Officials for their continued support.

Bill Hurley stepped up BIG-generously supplying the needed propane tank, gas line and all the fuel.

Lake Placid Village Electric provided the needed backup.

And then the expert team took over.

Just as there could be no hand-held torch relay without Mr. Allen, there can be no relighting of the Olympic Cauldron without the expertise of Joe Leonard and Matt Colby.

Joe Leonard volunteered hours to insure the gas lines are clear, connections tight and the vaporizer ready. But most importantly, Joe makes sure that the gas will arrive at the precise right moment to ignite the Cauldron.

Serving as the master of all things that the torch tower may need is Matt Colby. Matt completes an exhausting checklist to insure the glow and legacy of Lake Placid's Flame continues to burn brightly.

I am proud to work with all these dedicated individuals. Prouder still of the results of those efforts.

Happy 35th anniversary, Lake Placid!

James E. Morganson

Torch Restoration Committee member and FDR (friend of Dennis Ryan)



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