Law enforcement torch run in Kinston for the Special Olympics

KINSTON, N.C. (WITN) – Kinston law enforcement and city officials gathered at Fairfield Park to run to Caswell Development Center to raise awareness for those with disabilities.

At 12:30 pm, the parking lot at Fairfield Park was filled with Kinston and Lenoir County law enforcement vehicles. They gathered to start a one-mile run, passing the torch to members with special needs at the Caswell Development Center, and finishing at the chapel in the circle of Caswell.

The Law Enforcement Torch Run for the Special Olympics is the largest year-round public awareness and grassroots fundraising campaign for the Special Olympics.

Known as “Guardians of the Flame”, law enforcement members and Special Olympic athletes carry the “Flame of Hope” into the opening ceremony of local competitions such as the one in Kinston Thursday.

Kinston Mayor Don Hardy says that this event has a significant impact on the Special Olympics community.

“It shows that you know, that folks care, and they appreciate that. They are excited, they were smiling, and talking, just excited for us to be here and excited to be around our community”, said Hardy.

Kinston law enforcement was privileged to be part of the torch run where they were connected with the community they serve.

“I think it’s great! It’s a really great opportunity for us to bond and get together, especially for something as great as the torch run. You’re celebrating the Special Olympics, all the people who depend on us,” said Kinston police detective Ashley Gonzalez.

Each year, more than 110,000 dedicated and compassionate law enforcement members carry the “Flame of Hope,” symbolizing courage and the celebration of diversity, uniting communities around the globe. Nearly 2,000 law enforcement personnel in our state support the NC Law Enforcement Torch Run annually.

Over the years, the Torch Run has evolved and now includes various innovative fundraising events, such as the Plane Pull, Polar Plunge, Tip-A-Cop, Truck Convoy, and more.