Police and Athletes Bring the "Flame of Hope" to Hagerstown


HAGERSTOWN, Md. - The Special Olympics Torch Run has been a long standing tradition in Washington County.

Starting in Hancock, law enforcement officials took to the road as they started the Washington County's leg of the 28th Annual Special Olympics Torch Run.

"Well it is just an excellent opportunity to bring awareness to the Special Olympics and what they do for these special athletes and really special human beings," said Sgt. Brian Smith, Maryland State Police.

For many years law enforcement officials from the state, city and county have participated and they said its an honor to run for such great people.

"We start here in Hancock and try to get the whole way to the square in Downtown Hagerstown, and it is just a good time to not only bring awareness to the special Olympians, but it is also a good time to get together with you coworkers and have a nice run for the day," said Sgt. Smith.

This year more than 50 runners handed off the Flame of Hope every couple of miles all the way to Hagerstown.

The runners and athletes gathered as the proclamation was read for the big day and as the athletes raised the Flame of Hope with pride.

"We could not do it without them, not only are they raising money, but they are supporting running all the legs. It's so important and vital to what we can do with the athletes," said Vicki Follett, Assistant Director of the Washington County Special Olympics.

The next stop is Baltimore for the games.

"That is all we have heard about for the last few practices is when are we getting on the bus, when is the torch run, so these are some very big events in the lives of the athletes and they are ready to go," said Follett.

The Special Olympics Maryland Summer Games will be held this weekend at Towson University. More than 70 athletes will be representing Washington County.

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