Pulling For a Great Cause
June 1, 2011 - The Division of Correction Commissioner’s Tug of War event, held annually to benefit Special Olympics Maryland, featured a record 30 teams this year. Tug teams gathered from all across the state, enthusiastic employees represented Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services’ facilities from as far as Cumberland to the Eastern Shore. A few local detention centers also joined in the fundraising and pulling efforts. The event raised approximately $12,000, as part of Maryland law enforcement’s commitment to the cause.
From humble beginnings with just a law enforcement torch run in 1993, the Maryland Division of Correction (DOC) has become one of the leading fundraising agencies in all of Maryland for Special Olympics. And it’s largely due to what that small torch run has since blossomed into: the Commissioner’s Tug of War, a colorful event held every spring since 2000 on the firing range at the Jessup DOC complex.
This year, a record of more than 30 teams turned out, raising $12,000 dollars for Special Olympics, and providing the more than 300 spectators with some fantastic entertainment.
The Tug features heavy-weight, light-weight and, this year for the first time ever, all-female teams. And, boy, do they take the competition seriously!
Every state correctional region sent teams: Cumberland, Hagerstown, Eastern Shore, Baltimore, and Jessup were all represented. St. Mary’s and Howard counties came too, with teams from their local correctional divisions.
The rope-pulling is a best-two-out-of-three competition, with the winners eventually making their way to the championship.
On June 1, under sunny skies and with temperatures in the low 90s, correctional officers—and even some headquarters personnel--- tugged their hearts out, with the team fees, t-shirt and hat sales, and other donations all going to Special Olympics Maryland.
DOC provided cookout food, and both Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services’ (DPSCS) Secretary Gary Maynard and DOC Commissioner Mike Stouffer reminded their troops what a wonderful commitment this has become to a great cause.
In the end, Baltimore City Detention Center’s seven-member, 2400+ pound team won the heavyweight title, barely beating North Branch from Cumberland. The lightweight winners were North Branch’s other team. And the women from the Baltimore Pre-release Unit took the all-female title.
Each and every team was impressive. But most impressive of all is this: DPSCS has now raised about a quarter million dollars for Special Olympics Maryland, thanks to the DOC Tug of War.