If you were at this year’s Summer Games Opening Ceremony, you would have seen Special Olympics athlete Eric Castle march to the stage with uniformed law enforcement officers, torch in hand, and light the ceremonial cauldron. This is how we opened Summer Games 2017, but for our law enforcement partners it was the end of a miles-long series of runs called the Final Leg.
Law Enforcement for Special Olympics Kentucky is a committee of law enforcement personnel from agencies throughout the state whose mission is to raise money and awareness for Special Olympics Kentucky. At 9:00am on Friday, June 2nd they all gathered in the rotunda of the Kentucky State Capitol Building in Frankfort.
After a brief ceremony, the Special Olympics Torch was lit on the capitol steps and law enforcement began a mile-long formation run to the Frankfort Police Department, filled the streets of Capital Avenue.
The runners took a water break and then convoyed to Stewart Home School. They carried the torch from the entrance gate to the campus courtyard, where they were joined in the run by Special Olympics athletes, and greeted with a school choir and speeches from Stewart Home School staff.
After a lunch break the run continued at Transylvania University in Lexington, led by the University of Kentucky Police Department. The runners took over the streets of Lexington and ran to the Wildcat Statue on UK’s campus.
There was one last ceremony at the Richmond Police Department, attended by a large group of Madison County Special Olympics athletes, and then the runners carried the torch to the campus of EKU to enjoy a well-deserved meal and a shower before Opening Ceremony.
Law enforcement carried the Flame of Hope throughout the state, spreading awareness for Special Olympics Kentucky. At the end of the Opening Ceremony, the cauldron was lit, the games were declared open, and the Final Leg was complete!
“Kentucky law enforcement have done a tremendous job raising awareness and funds for our athletes,” says Steve McGill, Law Enforcement Liaison for Special Olympics Kentucky. “They have raised over $140,000 in the last year and frequently appear at our sporting events to hand out medals to athletes.”
Kentucky law enforcement hosts fundraising events such as Tip-A-Cop (collecting tips at restaurants) Cops on Donut Shops (manning the drive-thru lanes at donut shops), Trivia Nights, Battle of the Badges (rib eating contest—police vs. fire departments) and much more—all to support Special Olympics Kentucky.
We would like to encourage all local athletes to meet and greet the public at these events. Athlete participation is very important to us, and it helps donors connect the dots between their donations and our athletes. Please follow Law Enforcement for Special Olympics Kentucky at Facebook.com/KentuckyTorchRun/ to for updates on events in your area.
For more information about Law Enforcement for Special Olympics Kentucky or to get your department involved, contact Steve McGill, Special Olympics Kentucky Law Enforcement Liaison, at 502-695-8222 or [email protected].