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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • Annual Law Enforcement Torch Run to be May 28

  • A group of law enforcement officers will be running in Phelps and Pulaski counties Wednesday, May 28, to raise awareness for Special Olympics Missouri, which kicks off its state summer games next weekend in Columbia.
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  • A group of law enforcement officers will be running in Phelps and Pulaski counties Wednesday, May 28, to raise awareness for Special Olympics Missouri, which kicks off its state summer games next weekend in Columbia.
    The officers are participating in the 28th annual statewide Law Enforcement Torch Run.
    There are two runs scheduled for next Wednesday morning — one along Old Route 66 from the Rolla Area Chamber of Commerce office to the Sugar Tree Road area and another from the St. Robert Community Center to Gerlach Field on Fort Leonard Wood.
    Lt. Steve Davis, of the Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) and regional coordinator of Region 6 of the Torch Run for Special Olympics, says the event allows different law enforcement agencies to show they are unified in their support of a common cause.
    “This is our signature event,” he said of the run.
    At 8 a.m., initially about 40 officers from primarily the Rolla and St. James police departments, the Missouri University of Science and Technology Police Department and MSHP Troop I, will start their run from the chamber office and follow Old Route 66 through Doolittle to the Sugar Tree Road area.
    There, they will get on a bus, donated by USA Tours, and ride to the St. Robert Community Center.
    “That is where we grow in numbers,” Davis said. “Something cool this year is that we’ve involved the Fort Leonard Wood MPs.”
    In St. Robert, officers will be joined by approximately 450 Military Police officers and about 26 MSHP Troop D troopers. The Pulaski County run will involve one of the largest groups ever to take part, Davis said.
    The runners will begin around 10:45 a.m. and travel down Missouri Avenue to the north gate of the post and on through to Gerlach Field.
    At the finish line, MSHP Superintendent Col. Ron Replogle and Brig. Gen. Mark Spindler, commandant of the Military Police School on post, are scheduled to give remarks. Some local Special Olympic athletes also may attend, Davis said.
    Davis said several area businesses have donated food to give to the runners after they finish at Fort Leonard Wood.
    While Davis said the torch run is more about raising awareness than money, other events in Region 6, such as the Polar Plunge and Tip-a-Cop, have raised thousands of dollars for Special Olympics Missouri.
    “To tell you how well we did, during our 2012-13 campaign, our region raised over $8,000. In 2013-14, we jumped to $28,000,” Davis said, and six more law enforcement agencies have been added to Region 6.
    In 2013, Missouri's Torch Run was ranked No. 7 in the world based on gross dollars raised.
    Other torch runs have been held across the state since May 15. More than 1,642 runners from 187 agencies from across the state were scheduled to participate in the 2014 Torch Run.
    Page 2 of 2 - Once complete, these runners will travel 42 different routes and cover more than 1,000 miles across Missouri.
    The Special Olympics Missouri 2014 State Summer Games will be held in Columbia Friday, May 30, to Sunday, June 1.
    For more information regarding the Law Enforcement Torch Run, visit www.somo.org/ torchrun.
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