(HELENA) It was windy, chilly and rainy morning on Monday at the headquarters of the Montana Highway Patrol.

Despite the gloomy weather it did not dampen spirits in the Special Olympics Torch Run.

Law officers and supporters gathered on Monday along with Governor Steve Bullock to relay the Special Olympic flame from Helena south on Interstate-15 to Boulder.

“I mean, personally it is a way that I can give back to my sister who is one of the fellow athletes here in Helena,” said Domingo Zapata, Corporal Detective with the Helena Police Department.

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After a brief ceremony where Special Olympians cheered the runners and the Olympic Torch was lit, athletes and cops took a short run around the Kmart parking lot. Then Governor Bullock hit the road on the first leg  of the run, south on Interstate-15.

“You know, these athletes are just incredible, incredible human beings that certainly care about the runners,” said Bullock. “But to have the opportunity to give to them and to make sure that every one of them feels like a champion today and through the state games coming up as well.”

The torch will spend the night in Boulder before continuing on to Butte on Tuesday.

The opening ceremony for the state games will be held in Missoula next month.



REPORTER: Dennis Carlson
E-MAIL: dennis@kxlh.com