Lt. Col. Brian Bisacre
Recently in Tikrit, Iraq, nearly 400 soldiers from the Schofield Barracks 728th Military Police Battalion kicked off the 21st annual First Hawaiian Bank Troy Barboza Law Enforcement Torch Run. Despite being deployed since November 2007, battalion commander Lt. Col. Brian Bisacre (above with the torch) says he and his fellow American soldiers were more than willing to take a break from their “operational environment” (combat!) to raise money for Special Olympics Hawaii.
“We ran in the Torch Run in Hawaii last year and we were very touched by the experience,” says Bisacre. “This was the first year we have had the opportunity to do it in Iraq, as this is the unit’s first deployment to Operation Iraqi Freedom.”
Bisacre himself has been involved with the Torch Run since 1990, when he ran his first race as a second lieutenant stationed with the 58th Military Police Company at Schofield. He continued to participate in the races through 1993 before being reassigned off-island. Upon returning to Schofield in the fall of 2006, he picked up right where he had left off.
And there are, according to Bisacre, two “very good” reasons why Hawaii-based soldiers such as himself continue to participate: to show support for their civilian law enforcement “brothers” of the Honolulu Police Department and to further assist these officers in their drive to raise money for Hawaii Special Olympics in honor of Troy Barboza.
Barboza was an undercover HPD officer who worked extensively as a coach with Hawaii Special Olympics. In 1987 at the age of 24, he was murdered in his home by a drug dealer he’d put behind bars when he was released. The 5K fun run has been run each year since to honor his dedication to the organization, raising more than $5 million.
“These are great American soldiers doing something for a great cause,” Bisacre says with pride. “We want to show that we are giving back and doing the right thing even in the face of hardship.” An avid Red Sox fan and active family man (he and wife Cyndi, a second-grade teacher at Assets School, have a 15-year-old son, Craig, who is a ninth-grader at Assets High School), Bisacre humbly requests that all members of his battalion be pinned “Good Neighbors.” “I prefer I deflect the credit to our entire unit that has really put the effort in to make the event out here in Iraq take place,” he says. “I am just blessed to be in command of the soldiers in the unit.”
The Oahu run happens in May with more than 1,000 law enforcement officers participating. For more information or to become involved with this special cause, go to the Torch Run and Hawaii Special Olympics website, www.specialolympicshawaii.org.
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