Washington City officers honor Special Olympics athletes with ‘Torch Run’

Washington City Police officers participate in the annual "Law Enforcement Torch Run" to support the Special Olympics, Washington City, Utah, May 28, 2019 | Photo courtesy of the Washington City Police Department, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Police officers in Washington City on Tuesday joined 97,000 police agencies around the world participating in the annual Law Enforcement Torch Run events taking place in May and June to raise awareness and funds for Special Olympics.

Washington City Police officers and their families run in the annual “Law Enforcement Torch Run” to support the Special Olympics, Washington City, Utah, May 28, 2019 | Photo courtesy of the Washington City Police Department, St. George News

The Washington City Police Department showed their support for the Special Olympics by running their annual 2-mile Torch Run.

The rowdy group of officers, families and children set off from the Hellhole trailhead in Washington City and continued along the route until they reached the finish line at the Washington City Walmart.

Click here to watch Washington City Police Department’s video of the event. 

The torch run is part of a series of runs that take place throughout Utah in various municipalities where law enforcement agencies, known as the “Guardians of the Flame of Hope,” carry the torch to honor the Special Olympics athletes. The final leg of the series will carry the torch into the opening ceremony of the Special Olympics Utah 2019 Summer State Games which will be held in Provo June 21-22.

Washington City Police officers and their families run in the annual “Law Enforcement Torch Run” to support the Special Olympics, Washington City, Utah, May 28, 2019 | Photo courtesy of the Washington City Police Department, St. George News

“This is a way for our officers to show their support for the Special Olympics and to be involved in our community by participating in a healthy activity together,” Washington City Police Chief Jason Williams told St. George News.

Special Olympics Utah is a chapter of Special Olympics International. The organization provides year-round training and competition in Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

Law Enforcement Torch Runs 

Law Enforcement Torch Runs are held across the nation and have been since the program launched in 1981, the creation of Witchita, Kansas Police Chief Richard LaMunyon.

“What started in 1981 … as a flicker of hope for Special Olympics has now become a roaring flame of stability for Special Olympics athletes worldwide,” LaMunyon said, according to Special Olympics International torch run website.

2017 file photo of Special Olympics athlete Ray Bundy Jr. carrying the “Flame of Hope” during the Law Enforcement Torch Run, St. George, Utah, May 27, 2017 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News

The program was created as a way for law enforcement to be active in the community and support Special Olympics in Kansas, and two years later LaMunyon presented the program to the International Association of Chiefs of Police, a strategic move that garnered the association’s endorsement.

Since then, the Torch Run movement has become the largest public awareness and fundraising group for Special Olympics.

The program has grown over the last 38 years, and today more than 97,000 law enforcement members carry the “Flame of Hope” annually as a symbol of courage that celebrates diversity and unites communities across the globe.

Email: cblowers@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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