SIKESTON, MO (KFVS) - Sikeston DPS, along with a variety of other first responders, took to the streets on Wednesday, May 23 to raise awareness and funds for the Special Olympics.
Dozens took part in the event as they started their run at Walmart in the south part of Sikeston, Missouri and made their way, running through traffic, to Cape First Church at the northern part of the city.
"The more we get out, the more we can raise money for the Special Olympics," Sikeston DPS Sergeant Derick Wheetley said. "The money we raise is helping send athletes to the summer games, and international games. It also provides medical care. So the more we can get out in the public, the more we can help raise money and get awareness."
One runner participating in the summer games, Logan Gardner, ran with the first responders. He said that he looks forward to participating in the games.
He also said he especially loves hanging out with his friends during the run.
"I did have fun in the Torch Run!" Gardner said. "I love all my friends!"
Sikeston DPS has participated in a Torch Run for Special Olympics for many years. Sergeant Wheetley has been a part of it since 2005 and said it's important to help promote this to spread the word other organizations to encourage them to participate as well.
"There is still a lot of law enforcement out there that is not familiar with what we do," Wheetley added. "Events like this is helping us promote the Special Olympics and law enforcement partnership with the Special Olympics."
The mission of the Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) is to raise awareness and funds for the Special Olympics movement.
LETR began in 1981 when Wichita, Kansas police chief Richard LaMunyon created the torch run. He thought it would help law enforcement be active in the community and support Special Olympics in the state. Since then, it has grown into the largest public awareness and fundraising group for Special Olympics.
The Torch Run brought other departments to join together with Sikeston DPS during their run including New Madrid County Ambulance, South Scott County Ambulance, ATF and Charleston DPS.
"We are here for the athletes," Wheetley said. "Help their awareness and help them make the games."
The Special Olympics in Missouri will hold their summer games from June 1-3 in Springfield, Mo.