Flame of Hope in Law Enforcement torch passes through Southern Utah

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ST. GEORGE — Special Olympics athlete Jazmine Slama and St. George Police Officer Jeremy Needles will serve as guardians for the final leg of the run sending off of the Flame of Hope in the Law Enforcement Torch Run, Friday evening.

According to Special Olympics Utah, this historic event will run its course across the nation over 46 days, and Southern Utah gets to be part of the event on July 3 at 7 p.m. The Flame of Hope will be a hand-to-hand exchange that will be carried across the country and delivered to Los Angeles for the 2015 World Summer Games.

The torch will pass through Southern Utah, starting in Toquerville on State Street, then through La Verkin, Hurricane and Washington before ending up in St. George at Dixie State University, Special Olympics Utah Director of Development and Community Relations, Jennie Vuich, said.

Families and community members are invited to attend the event, where they have the chance to meet and take pictures with  Slama and Needles as they pass through Southern Utah, Special Olympics Utah wrote in a press releasea. Both Slama and Needles have donated much of their time, talent and support to strengthen the community around Special Olympics Utah in Southern Utah.

Slama is the first person with intellectual disabilities from Hurricane High School who qualified for both the cross country running and the track team, the release said. She competed last summer in the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games, where she took home the gold medal in the 800 meter track and field event.

“Competing with Special Olympics Utah has helped me develop high goals in life and helped me make new friends,” Slama said in the release. “I am proud to be selected to participate in this international event.”

Needles has been involved with Special Olympics Utah since 2005. With the help of the St. George Police Department, Needles has helped raise more than $25,000 for Special Olympics Utah through the Law Enforcement Torch Run, the press release said. He was selected by Special Olympics Utah and the Utah Law Enforcement Torch Run to be one of the 10 Final Leg Team members.

The celebration will include special guest artist Shaun Canon, an Emmy-nominated singer-songwriter who has performed with artists such as Lindsey Stirling, David Archuleta, Janelle Monae and Brian McKnight.

About Special Olympics Utah

Special Olympics Utah provides free year-round training and competition in eight sports for more than 2,500 participants living in the state of Utah. With the support of more than 3,500 volunteers and the generosity of Utah citizens, corporations and local businesses, Special Olympics Utah is able to offer many events annually to individuals with intellectual disabilities.

Participation with other athletes, partners (typically developing peers), coaches, sponsors and volunteers builds confidence and creates opportunities to participate as productive and respected members of society by increasing public awareness of the athletes’ capabilities.

Event Details

  • What: The Flame of Hope in the Law Enforcement Torch Run
  • When: Friday, July 3, at 7 p.m.
  • Where: Dixie State University, 225 South 700 E., St. George

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