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‘Flame of Hope’ travels through Gallatin Valley, headed to Special Olympics opening ceremony

Posted at 3:39 PM, May 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-08 18:05:42-04

MANHATTAN, Mont. – You may have experienced some short delays on roads across Gallatin County on Tuesday, but there’s a good reason — Montana law enforcement held part of its annual Torch Run.

Every year, law enforcement across Montana works together to hold the Torch Run to raise money and spread awareness for the Special Olympics, which opens May 14 in Great Falls.

The Torch Run, composed of both runners and bikers, travels across the entire state carrying the “Flame of Hope” torch through different counties, finally finishing in Great Falls for the Olympic opening ceremonies.

The Gallatin County leg of the run started Tuesday morning in Bozeman and wrapped up in Three Forks, but a pit stop at Manhattan Elementary School gave students a special learning opportunity.

“You know, I think it really teaches the students that they’re part of it,” said Manhattan Elementary Principal Neil Harvey. “When they get to come out here and support their classmates, I think Special Olympics is wonderful for everybody, not only the participants but for the fans as well.”

Two past Special Olympians and current Torch Run participants, Ruth Spinelli and Anna Vanderwende, had a special message to share, too.

“Do what you want to do,” said Spinelli.

“I think it’s important to know that just because you have a disability, doesn’t mean you can’t do things,” added Anna Vanderwende. “I think it’s important to do what you want to do, and no one can stop you.”

Opening ceremonies for the Montana Special Olympics kick off on May 14 in Great Falls, and to donate you can click here.

Story by Kaitlin Corbett, MTN News