Law Enforcement Torch Run Held for Special Olympics

Thursday, May 25, 2017
Piggott Patrolman Sam Poole has the honor of carrying the torch in the early going of this year's Law Enforcement Torch Run, which began Monday morning on the Piggott square. The run is one of four being held this week in the state, culminating at the upcoming Special Olympics Spring Games in Searcy.(TD photo/Tim Blair)

For the 30th year in a row, law enforcement in Arkansas is celebrating Special Olympics athletes through special fundraising and awareness campaigns. Monday morning one such effort originated in front of the Clay County courthouse in Piggott, as the first leg of the Northeast Arkasnas Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Arkansas began.

Since 1987 members of Arkansas' law enforcement community have come together to raise over $7.2 million for Special Olympics, but fundraising is not all they do. Through the torch run, they also serve as guardians of the flameŚrunning miles upon miles to bring awareness of the true ability of people with disabilities.

Each spring law enforcement officers run the Flame of Hope into hundreds of competitions. During the month of May, Arkansas agencies join forces for the Law Enforcement Torch Run, which kicked-off Monday. Over the course of the week, four flames will make their way from the four corners of the state, converging on the capitol on Thursday for the final leg. This will be a 50-mile continuous run to Searcy, and Harding Stadium, for the opening of the 2017 Summer Games.

Local and regional participants gather for a group photo prior to the start of the LETR Monday morning in Piggott.(TD photo/Tim Blair)

With Sheriff Terry Miller leading the procession as an escort, the Northeast Arkansas run began just after 8 a.m. Monday in front of the courthouse, with a group carrying the flame through town. Among those taking part in the first leg were Patrolman Sam Poole of the Piggott PD and Deputy Russ Latimer of the Clay County Sheriff's Department among others.

The LETR made its second stop in Rector for a brief rest stop at the local Centennial Bank branch, then proceeded to Oak Grove for a stop at their elementary and middle schools, wrapping up the day at Centennial Bank in Paragould. Centennial Bank served as a major sponsor for the event, and has sponsored pep rallies at many locations along all four torch routes.

Law enforcement supporters also hold other special events to benefit Special Olympics, such as Polar Plunges, Boots-N-Badges events, Tip A Cop and softball tournament. A major source of funding also comes from the sale of their torch run t-shirts, which feature a new design each year. Those wanting additional information may contact Camie Powell at 501 786-9029.

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