Special Olympic torch passes through Helena before the summer games in Billings

Special Olympic torch passes through Helena before the summer games in Billings
Posted at 6:08 PM, May 09, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-09 20:08:20-04

Special Olympics Summer Games is an annual event that many look forward to across the state.

It offers an opportunity for those with intellectual disabilities a chance to compete against others from across the Treasure State in a variety of sports. But for the games to run year-round, law enforcement of from across multiple agencies get together for one of Special Olympics' biggest fundraising efforts each year, the Torch Run.

This year, 2024 Montana Law Enforcement Torch Run programs are projected to raise upward of $700,000, making up just a quarter of the funds for Special Olympic Montana.

On Thursday, The Flame of Hope passed through Helena where people gathered to celebrate the games.

"We're out there being actively engaged in different elements and that we get to really just help out, be supportive and obviously then the fundraising helps provide year-round funding for the games in the state of Montana," said Harris Wilson, a participant of the Law Enforcement Torch Run.

The Torch Run raises funds, and awareness, of the Special Olympics movement. For Sgt. Harris Wilson of Montana Highway Patrol, it's seeing the joy from the athletes that makes all the hard work pay off.

"One of my favorite parts of the Special Olympics is just dealing with the athletes. And so, like, I've never met more positive people, just always happy, eager, ready to go excited. And it's just being around that attitude is very helpful and a breath of fresh air for law enforcement," said Wilson.

The Torch will continue its journey, until reaching its final destination in Billings for the games to kick off on May 15. More information about Special Olympics, including ways to support the athletes and their families, can be found here.