Special Olympic torch blazes through Mount Pleasant

The “Flame of Hope” of Special Olympics Michigan passed through Mount Pleasant during a 750-mile trek.

Law enforcement officers, community members and Special Olympic athletes participated in the Law Enforcement Torch Run of Michigan as the torch was carried through town Thursday afternoon.

The torch was passed in front of the Special Olympics Michigan building on Mission Road as the runners moved from Gaylord to Lansing.

The 750-mile, non-stop relay started Monday in Copper Harbor and will finish today in Sterling Heights.

The run consists of three run teams, the Fraternal Order of Police, Michigan Department of Corrections and Michigan State Police, who all run to raise money and awareness for the Special Olympics. Special Olympics Public Relations Manager Kimberly Purdy said that the annual event is expected to raise between $50,000 and $60,000.

“It’s fun to see the officers run and see them promote awareness and raise money for the Special Olympics,” Purdy said. “Even though the Polar Plunge is our biggest fundraiser, this event helps gain awareness throughout the entire state. It’s a great event.”

With a police escort and more than 20 runners around him, State Police Lt. John Card of Bay City passed the torch to Corrections Officer Patricia Ordiway-Elvetici of Alger Correctional Facility as she and her team began heading south on Mission Street.

“The experience we have is for us to give back to the community. Law enforcement is blessed with being out there working for the people, so it is great to be able to give back to the people we serve,” Card said.

“The people attracted to law enforcement are interested in protecting people. This gives us a chance to give back as much as we give.” Card said there has been at least one person running at all times since the run started at noon Monday.

Each runner runs at least 45 miles over the course of the week. They run five miles at a time at an average of eight minutes per mile.

“I have always wanted to give back to the community and can not think of a better way to do that,” Card said. “This year’s run has been fantastic. We have been blessed with beautiful weather.”

The Law Enforcement Torch Run has more than 85,000 officers involved worldwide and has raised more than $200 million in the 28 years it has supported Special Olympics.