Police department holds annual Special Olympics Torch Run
By BRITTANY FHOLER
Officers with the Copperas Cove Police Department and other members of the community showed their support for Special Olympics Texas by participating in the annual two-mile Law Enforcement Torch Run Tuesday morning.
Officer Codi Nunez began the run carrying the torch symbolizing the “Flame of Hope” as he and Lt. Jeremy Albers, dressed as Eddie the Eagle, set the pace for their fellow officers, including Chief of Police Eddie Wilson, Sgt. Corey Schmidt, Sgt. Les Nace, Doug Hunter, Angie Club and Louis Cortez, and Interim City Manager Ryan Haverlah in the two-mile run. They began in the Copperas Cove Police Department parking lot with students from neighboring Crossroads High School cheering them on and made their way down the streets of Copperas Cove to pass by Fairview/Miss Jewell Elementary, where more students sat on the sidewalk and cheered them on. Children from God’s Little Angels day care center on S. 2nd St also cheered for the runners.
Wilson said that this run is very special for the department to participate in.
“It’s just our way of demonstrating our support for Special Olympics and just helping further develop our relationship with the community,” Wilson said. “It’s special, especially seeing the kids come out of their classrooms to come out and support us, giving us high fives and cheer us on. That just makes it all worthwhile.”
The Copperas Cove PD has been participating in the Law Enforcement Torch Run for at least 20 years, according to Sgt. Kevin Miller, the department’s public information officer. The run is all done on a volunteer basis, with a lot of the officers coming to run on their day off, he added.
Every person who ran purchased a t-shirt to wear during the run for $20, with the proceeds going to support local Special Olympic athletes.
The Law Enforcement Torch Run began in 1981 in Wichita, Kansas, founded by the police chief Richard LaMunyon as a way to “help law enforcement be active in the community and support Special Olympics Kansas,” according to the Special Olympics website.
Those carrying the torch are known as “Guardians of the Flame”, while the flame is known as the “Flame of Hope” and symbolizes “courage and celebration of diversity uniting communities around the globe”, the website reads. Tens of thousands of “Guardians of the Flame” across the country carry the “Flame of Hope” annually. In Texas, law enforcement agencies were participating to bring awareness to the 50th annual Special Olympics Texas Summer Games, which began Thursday in San Antonio and will continue through Sunday and will feature close to 3,000 athletes from all over Texas.