Special Olympics Torch Run Kicks off in NWA

Benton and Washington County police officers ran through Northwest Arkansas to raise money for the Special Olympics in the annual Law Enforcement Torch Run.

“It’s nice,” said Lt. Lester Coger with the Springdale Police Department. “We don’t go real fast, it’s all about you know letting people know about the Special Olympics and we carry the torch with us so that people can see.”

There were two torches. One started in Bella Vista, the other in Siloam Springs.

Officers carried the torches south and east, stopping in Bentonville, Rogers, Lowell, Tontitown and Springdale, with officers from each department carried the torch through their own cities.

And for some, participating was personal.

“I have a special needs child myself,” Coger said. “So it’s kind of close to my heart and I know that at the Special Olympics, they give it all they’ve got.”

Special Olympian Mary Borman came out just days before she heads to state finals to compete in the 50 meter backstroke.

“My amazing Special Olympics are coming up on Thursday,” Borman said.  Parents of Special Olympians say the run meant a lot.

“When you have someone with any form of disability whatsoever, it can honestly be a really lonely world,” said Sue Beckford, a parent. “People don’t realize that. The fact that they’re also at the events and they are encouraging, I mean, it’s just really incredible.”

From Springdale to Fayetteville, and Greenland these officers say it’s worth every step.

“Once you do it one time you’re pretty much hooked,” said Detective Mark Jordan with the Bentonville Police Department. “You know, when you see the athletes cross the line and you put a medal around their neck and they give you a big hug and a smile, that’s all it takes right there you’re hooked.”

The torch run honors Arkansas Special Olympics athletes as they prepare for the Special Olympics Arkansas state summer games this Thursday.

The Torch Run continues in Crawford and Sebastian Counties on Tuesday morning.  Law enforcement officials will begin in Greenwood and the torch will be passed along to Fort Smith and Van Buren officers.

To see a map of the Arkansas Torch Run legs, visit: http://www.specialolympicsarkansas.org

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