see all DPSCS web features here

Tug of War Lets DPSCS Top Quarter-Million Dollar Mark for Special Olympics Maryland

In 1993, several folks in the Division of Correction had an idea to join the growing law enforcement involvement in Special Olympics. What began then as a few people doing the Torch Run quickly evolved into a truly unique Department-wide correctional spectacle: the DOC Commissioner’s Cup Tug of War.

This year on June 1, twenty-eight teams from all regions of the state---including the Eastern Shore, Cumberland, and southern Maryland, showed up to wow the crowd with a truly memorable walk, run, and tug of war. A team from the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office joined DPSCS correctional officers, case managers, and headquarters personnel from all three DPSCS correctional divisions: the DOC, the Division of Pretrial Detention and Services, and Patuxent Institution.

With the temperature already in the low-90s, the runners and walkers filed behind athletes carrying the Special Olympics Torch for a morning jaunt around the Jessup prison complex. Upon their return, DOC Commissioner Mike Stouffer “commissioned” the Special Olympians in attendance, making them honorary correctional officers. Several Olympians spoke, thanking the participants for their benevolence.

Then came the true spectacle: men and women, on heavyweight (averaging 2,000+ pounds for seven-member teams), lightweight (under 1,400 pounds), and all-women’s teams took to the rope field.

Hours later, with the temperature hovering near 100 degrees, the rope-puling competition ended with perennial powerhouses Baltimore City Detention Center (a team weight of 2553 pounds) and Cumberland’s North Branch Correctional Institution taking top honors in the heavy- and lightweight divisions, respectively; and the ladies from the Baltimore Area Reentry System DOC facilities capturing the trophy for the women’s teams. See our press release here for photos of winners.

Channel 2 and WBAL Radio covered the event, and despite the heat, everyone had a truly wonderful time. It was sportsmanship and statewide camaraderie coming together for a wonderful cause. See our Facebook page for photos throughout the day.

Once the t-shirt sales are tallied a nd the Tug team fees totaled, this year’s event will push the overall total of money raised for Special Olympics Maryland to more than a quarter-million dollars. That’s quite a feat from the humble beginnings of a few kindhearted folks in DOC back in 1993. Congratulations to all the participants for their tremendous work on behalf of Special Olympics Maryland.