Officers carry ‘Flame of Hope’ for Special Olympics

WASHINGTON CITY — Law enforcement officers from the Washington City Police Department gathered at the Wal-Mart parking lot in Washington City Friday morning to participate in the “Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Utah.”

Law enforcement officers carry “The Flame of Hope” to the Special Olympics regional swim competition, Washington City, Utah, May 12, 2017 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News

The officers, called the “Guardians of the Flame of Hope,” carried the torch, or “Flame of Hope,” to the Washington City Community Center where they were greeted by a host of Special Olympics athletes participating in the south area swim competition for Special Olympics Utah.

Special Olympics Utah, a chapter of Special Olympics International provides year-round training and competition in Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, information from the Special Olympics Utah website said.

Throughout the month of May, various cities and their law enforcement agencies host torch runs leading up to the final torch run into the opening ceremony of the Special Olympics Utah Summer Games held in Provo in June, said Special Olympics Utah president D’arcy Dixon Pignanelli.

Following Friday’s run, the torch will be carried in the following areas statewide:

  • May 19 | Cache County, Logan.
  • May 24 | Davis County, Kaysville and multiple law agencies.
  • May 24 | Salt Lake County, Draper.
  • May 25 | Box Elder County, Brigham City and other cities and towns.
  • May 27 | Washington County, St. George.
  • June 2 | The final leg of the 2017 Torch Run will be held in the Provo and Orem area.  The torch will run into the block party at University Mall in Orem.

Officers from the Washington City Police Department have participated in the run for several years, said Lt. Jason Williams, adding that it provides a great opportunity for them to take part in celebrating the Special Olympics athletes.

Special Olympic athletes are led in the “athletes oath” before competing in the regional swim meet at the Washington City Community Center, Washington City, Utah, May 12, 2017 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News

Five members of the department carried the torch through Washington City starting from Wal-Mart, traveling east on Telegraph Street then turning north on 300 East, and ending at the community center. The runners were escorted by police vehicles while pedestrians and drivers honked, waved and smiled.

“It brings joy to us to be a part of it,” Williams said. “These are some special Olympics and there really are special athletes in our community. This is just a tender moment for us to be able to participate with them.”

Pignanelli’s involvement in the Special Olympics was spurred by a member of her own family with an intellectual disability, she said. Pignanelli added that the Special Olympics are about inclusion and creating inclusive communities.

“My family members led the way,” Pignanelli said. “Our athlete went everywhere with us, did everything with us, there was no question about it. We just want to continue to spread that message.”

Once at the community center, a brief opening ceremony was held during which the athletes recited the “athlete oath” and posed for a picture with the officers and “The Flame of Hope.”

St. George will host the last area run before the final leg on May 27 at 9 a.m. The route will start at 1108 W. 160 South in St. George and will follow the bike path for approximately one mile. The run will end at the Thunder Junction All Abilities Park, 1851 S. Dixie Drive.

Community members are invited to come cheer on the officers as they carry “The Flame of Hope” for the last time before the final leg in Provo in June.

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Event details

  • What: Special Olympics “Flame of Hope” torch run.
  • When: Saturday, May 27, 9 a.m.
  • Where: The route will start at 1108 W. 160 South in St. George and will follow the bike path for approximately one mile. The run will end at the Thunder Junction All Abilities Park, 1851 S. Dixie Drive.
  • Special Olympics Utah: Torch run schedule

Email: hreina@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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