GREAT FALLS – Special Olympics Montana athletes and officers from Conrad, Fort Benton, Dearborn and Armington Junction united in Great Falls Tuesday evening to conclude the 2019 Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run with the Flame of Hope.
The 2019 Law Enforcement ‘Carry the Torch’ for Special Olympics Montana began April 22 with 14 starting points around the state.
Over 300 law enforcement officers and athletes carried the Flame of Hope over 2,200 miles to end in Great Falls.
Cascade County Sheriff Jesse Slaughter and Special Olympics Montana athlete-of-the-year Jamie Darko accepted the Flame of Hope at Gibson Park Tuesday evening.
They will both carry the Flame of Hope for the last mile on Wednesday evening.
Darko and Slaughter will begin on 3rd St. NW and end on 6th St. to C.M. Russell High School for the Opening Ceremonies celebration.
During the ceremony, officers will form the Circle of Honor as Slaughter and Darko carry the Flame of Hope into the field house and ignite the cauldron to signify the beginning of the 2019 Summer Games.
The Torch Run raises awareness for Special Olympics in every corner of the Big Sky State by promoting a message of inclusion, acceptance and ability every step of the way.
In 2018, the run raised over $650,000 for local athletes.
The Torch Run is the largest grassroots fundraiser and public awareness vehicle for Special Olympics and has raised over $733 million since its inception in 1981.
The Torch Run in Montana started in 1985.
Reporting by Kasey Herman for MTN News