Lees-McRae College Track Athletes and Coaches Carry Torch for Special Olympics
May 15, 2009
NEWLAND, N.C. - Several Lees-McRae College student athletes and
a couple of coaches helped carry the torch for the 2009 Law
Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics this past Tuesday and
Wednesday in Avery and Watauga counties.
Lees-McRae used their track and field athletes to carry the
torch from the town square in Newland to the sheriff's office in
Boone on Wednesday with several members carrying the torch for over
18 miles. Coach Craig McPhail, along with student athletes Connor
Gray, Jordan Gillespie, Michael Davis, Craig Simpkins, Cody
Hodgins, Kathryn Smith, Danny Hogbin and Bobcat supporter Carl
Clawson all volunteered their time and abilities for this
On Tuesday, Lees-McRae College men's basketball coach Scott
Polsgrove ran the torch from the Mitchell-Avery line up Old Three
Mile Road where local law officials picked up the torch.
"Having the opportunity to help our local law enforcement while
supporting such a great cause is something we want to associate
ourselves with each year," said Craig McPhail Director of Cross
Country/Track & Field at Lees-McRae. "This is our second year
doing this, and we always look forward to this. It is a great way
for us to use our special talents to help others."
Over 85,000 police officers annually raise money for Special
Olympics Programs through the Law Enforcement Torch Run®. The
runs raised $34 million in 2008, making it the movement's largest
grass-roots fundraiser and public relations vehicle. Torch Runs
take place around the world and involve a broad cross-section of
the law enforcement community. Last year, military police from
Hawaii stationed in Iraq conducted a Torch Run in Tikrit, deposed
Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's home village.
The Law Enforcement Torch Run began in 1981 when Wichita, Kansas
(USA), Police Chief Richard LaMunyon saw an urgent need to raise
funds for and increase awareness of Special Olympics. The Torch Run
was quickly adopted by the International Association of Chiefs of
Police (IACP), now recognized as the founding law enforcement
organization of the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics.
"What started in Kansas as a flicker of hope for Special Olympics
has now become a roaring flame of stability for Special Olympics
athletes worldwide," says LaMunyon.
At its most basic level, the Torch Run is an actual running event
in which officers and athletes run the Flame of Hope™ to the
Opening Ceremony of local Special Olympics competitions,
state/provincial games, and National Summer or Winter Games. Every
two years, law enforcement officers from around the world gather to
carry the Flame of Hope in a Law Enforcement Torch Run Final Leg in
honor of the Special Olympics World Summer or World Winter