NEOSHO, Mo. — The law enforcement torch run for Special Olympics took place today all over southwest Missouri.
There were six routes in southwest Missouri, and over 20 officers who participated in the law enforcement torch run. Including runs in Joplin, Webb City, Carthage, Lamar, Springfield and Neosho.
Special Olympics Missouri program manager, Jana Fornelli says it’s these kind of runs that bring the awareness they’re looking for, for Special Olympics.
“The law enforcement brings a positive awareness to our program. They are great with the athletes cheering them on. And this is not a competition, it’s just an awareness run,” said Fornelli, Special Olympics Missouri Program Manager.
And Sergeant Jeff Fugett with the Missouri State Highway Patrol is no stranger to rooting them on.
“This is my 20th year with the Law Enforcement torch run. It’s great to have all the Law Enforcement come out and run, especially in rain, it makes an added adventure to it I guess. We do this all for the Special Olympics, and to raise awareness for our athletes in this area,” said Sgt. Fugett, Missouri State Highway Patrol
Sergeant Fugett adds he doesn’t just run to raise awareness, but because of the connections he makes with the athletes.
“Coming to these events and running in them, and doing different things, you get to know the athletes in Missouri and you know they have a special connection with all law enforcement.”
“I really like running in a community, and I really like police officers too. They are really nice and kind,” said Brett Harper, Special Olympics Athlete.
The law enforcement torch run is the largest “grass roots” fundraiser and awareness event for the Special Olympics.