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Police participate in Special Olympics torch run

Cove Leader-Press

Officers with the Copperas Cove Police Department and other members of the community showed their support for Special Olympics Texas on Monday morning.
Starting at 10 a.m., police officers and other volunteers, “Guardians of the Flame,” carried a torch symbolizing the “Flame of Hope” on a two-mile run down the streets of Copperas Cove for their annual Law Enforcement Torch Run Day for Special Olympics Texas. 
By raising money and participating in torch runs, the law enforcement community seeks to provide opportunities for athletes with intellectual disabilities to empower and transform themselves. 
Sandra Hunt, Central Director for the Law Enforcement Torch Run for the Special Olympics, described the scope of the event. She said many Texas cities will also participate in their own runs in the days leading up to the Special Olympic Games during which law enforcement members will run along with Special Olympic athletes to light the torch during the opening ceremonies. 
“I wanted to be a part of it. I wanted to make a difference and do something good for people that deserve it,” said Hunt.
For the upcoming opening ceremony in Arlington, Hunt said that 300-400 officers will run the track and simultaneously light the torch. About 150 patrol cars will precede the officers.
Members of law enforcement are proud to raise the most money for Special Olympics Texas year after year. Last year, this region raised $1.7 million for the athletes of the Special Olympics.
“I think it’s a great event for a good cause,” said Police Sergeant Kevin Miller. “It’s to let the community know that we’re involved, and we care about all members of our community. We want to help people that are less fortunate and may not have the resources to participate.”
Eric Stoneburner was one of the volunteers at the event. He said that it’s important to volunteer at events to raise public awareness and support good causes.
“I’m in the military, so two miles sounds about normal, I’m just not going to like it,” joked Stoneburner prior to the run. He said he likes participating in events for the Special Olympics because it helps to provide them with items that they need and might otherwise not be able to get.
Louis Cortez had the honor of carrying the torch and setting the pace for the run down the city. All of the runners stayed in formation throughout the run which took approximately 23 minutes.
“It was a heavy honor…There was pressure, but it was comfortable,” said Cortez. “It was a good run. I think it was energetic. It was a good group. It was an honor to run with this group of people.”
It’s a great event. I think more people should show up for it,” said Marc Payne, a member of the City Council who attended the event to help support it. Mayor Frank Seffrood also attended. “It’s for a good cause,” added Payne. “It’s another way that people can work together and support each other.” 

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