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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • ‘Guardians of the flame’

  • Patrol lieutenant runs in USA Games torch run
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  • During Steve Davis’ first trip to New York City, he got to see the Statue of Liberty, Times Square and other popular destinations, but he didn’t get to stop and do much sightseeing as he was running for a special cause.
    Davis, a lieutenant with the Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop I region, was picked as Missouri’s representative to take part in the Special Olympics USA Games law enforcement torch run final leg held earlier this month.
    “It was such a huge honor to have been chosen to represent all law enforcement officers in Missouri,” Davis said Thursday at the Troop I headquarters, days after he got back from the national event.
    Davis and other law enforcement officers from all 50 states as well as athletes competing in the national Special Olympics events took part in the multi-state torch run June 11-14, leading up to the opening ceremony June 15 of the 2014 USA Games held in Newark, New Jersey.
    Missouri’s law enforcement torch run committee chose Davis to represent the state at the event.
    Davis, who is Missouri’s Region 6 coordinator for Special Olympics Missouri, says he loves anything that has to do with raising funds and awareness.
    1997 was the year his involvement with Special Olympics began. At that time, he was told to sell T-shirts for the organization.
    “It has won me over,” Davis said, noting that since then, he has jumped in frozen water, ran in local torch runs and participated in other activities to raise awareness and money for Special Olympics.
    “This experience, carrying this torch, has catapulted me to a whole other level,” Davis said. “I am truly honored and extremely humbled to have been chosen to do this.”
    This marked Davis’ first time taking part in the USA Games torch run and his first visit to the New York City area.
    “It exceeded my expectations,” he said. “We were the guardians of the flame.”
    The first day, he and other law enforcement officers, one from each state and the District of Columbia, all ran through New York City, including downtown Manhattan, with Special Olympic athletes from all over the country.
    Tyler Bishop, of Arkansas, ran with Davis’ group.
    “They (athletes) ran every single mile we ran,” Davis said.
    Some of the runners were on the Fox & Friends morning show before running through Times Square, which was shut down for the runners, Davis said. They were able to visit the 9/11 Memorial visitor center and museum before going on a ferry to the statue of Liberty.
    The next three days, the runners were split into three groups. One stayed in the New York City area, another went to Philadelphia and the third went to New Jersey. Davis ran in the Missouri group.
    Page 2 of 2 - Both law enforcement officers and Special Olympics athletes would run to several groups and then speak at different places.
    Davis said he was able to share some information about the torch runs held in Missouri.
    May 28, two local torch runs were held in the area — one from the Rolla Visitors Center to the Sugar Tree area and another from St. Robert to Fort Leonard Wood — to raise awareness for the Special Olympics Missouri games held in early June.
    John Newnan, coordinator of the 2014 USA Games final leg, complimented the runners, saying their speeches left a last impression on New Jersey residents.
    There were about 3,500 athletes who qualified for the Special Olympics USA Games, including about 120 from Missouri.

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