Passing the Special Olympics Torch in Athens

ATHENS, Ala. (WHNT) – A flame of hope across Alabama made its way to Athens Thursday. It’s one of many stops on the way down to the State Special Olympics.

The Alabama Law Enforcement Torch Run benefiting the Special Olympics went through the Tennessee Valley.

Their first stop was Huntsville,  then they made their way to Athens. The Athens Police Chief was proud to host the Torch Run for the first time ever. However, this is the second year they have been involved in fundraising.

“We’re really proud to have them here,” Chief Floyd Johnson tells WHNT News 19. “We’ve shown the law enforcement support back in ‘Cops on Top’ a few weeks ago, and this will take them right down to the program in Troy.”

The main ceremony is just a few days away, and this torch run is a symbol that the state stands together.

“And by dollars and handfuls of change, that’s how we raise the money,” Chief Johnson says. The Athens Police Department raised $11,000  for the Alabama Special Olympics. But that’s not all they are donating.

Two of their own officers will join the runners, carrying the torch all the way down to Troy.  And Chief Johnson says the team keeps growing. “I think there’s about 80 so far, as it goes further south, more officers will join, and there will be several hundred by the time they get to the end.”

Stop by stop, it’s clear. Communities across the state are cheering on the athletes set to compete this weekend.

Decatur was the next stop for those inspiring runners. The torch run is set to arrive at the Troy University stadium Friday. That’s where the torch will be used to light the flame to start the 2014 Alabama Special Olympics.


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