2015 Special Olympics Torch Run
The Louisiana Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run is held the third week of May every year leading up to the Summer Games opening ceremony. Agencies from across the state take turns carrying the flame of hope through their jurisdictions while raising money for the Special Olympics through fundraising and t-shirt sales. The flame of hope reaches its final destination at the end of the week for the start of the Summer Games.
I had the honor of participating in the Torch Run for the fifth year and my second year as a member of the Mandeville Police Department. We changed the West St. Tammany leg route to the Mandeville Lakefront this year.
Runners from the Mandeville Police Department, St. Tammany Sheriff’s Office, Causeway Police Department, Louisiana State Police, Louisiana Probation & Parole, and Mandeville citizens met at the Mandeville Trailhead for the start of the race. The Mandeville Police and St. Tammany Sheriff’s Office Motorcycle Division were on hand to escort the runners.
The new route took runners down Girod St. to the Mandeville Lakefront. Torch Runners ran on Lakeshore Dr. and enjoyed views of Lake Ponchartrain. The 2.5 mile run concluded at Varsity Sports Mandeville.
Varsity Sports hosted the Torch runners for a post run celebration. Bud Weiss and Dr. Ryan Green helped organize the event. Smoothie King donated smoothies and Nutrishop Covington gave out nutrition shakes and supplements. Rouse’s Market donated water, bananas, oranges, and a beautiful cake with the Special Olympics logo. Times Grill donated a gift card for a door prize. DJ Austin Fath donated his services and provided music for the event.
A great time was had by all!
On Friday I had the honor or representing that Mandeville Police Department at the Special Olympics Summer Games Opening Ceremony at the Strawberry Stadium in Hammond. LA. Police officers from across Louisiana came to the event in their uniforms and helped with the event.
Officers escorted the athletes on to the field who were cheered on by friends and family in the stands.
Four officers and four athletes ran the final leg of the torch run around the perimeter of the field. My athlete, Ben, and I were chosen to run the final 50 yards to the Special Olympics Cauldron. Together we used the Torch to light the Cauldron to officially begin the Summer Games! I don’t have pictures yet of us lighting the cauldron but I hope to have some soon.
All of the officers, athletes, and families met on the field after the ceremony to meet each other. I had the opportunity to meet, talk to, take pictures with, and hug a lot of athletes and parents. I was so inspired by the perseverance of these athletes. Their excitement was contagious and everyone left the stadium that night with their hearts full.
Louisiana officers raised over $300,000 for the Special Olympics this year!!! If you would like to donate, volunteer, or participate please visit www.laso.org