Siler City, NC – Chatham County Sheriff’s Office members laced up their running shoes and hit the streets last Thursday and Friday mornings. They joined fellow law enforcement officers from across North Carolina to participate in the Special Olympics Torch Run. This event is part of the Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR), which is the largest year-round campaign for Special Olympics, aiming to raise public awareness and funds.
On Thursday morning, May 25, Sheriff’s Office personnel and other supporters ran alongside students from Jordan-Matthews and Chatham Central high schools, carrying the torch approximately one mile from the N.C. Highway Patrol Station in Siler City to the Siler City Police Department. Along their N. Second Avenue route, runners were motivated by the music of Bon Jovi and Survivor pulsating from speakers in the lead Sheriff’s Office vehicle. Runners waved at appreciative bystanders who cheered them on from the sidelines.
The torch’s journey continued Friday morning, May 26, with Sheriff’s Office personnel, accompanied by students from Northwood and Seaforth high schools, carrying the flame about a mile from North Chatham Fire Department’s Station 19 to the Seaforth Recreation Boat Ramp at Jordan Lake. During the spirited event, all runners took turns carrying the ceremonial torch and leading the pack of runners.
Prior to each relay, Sheriff Mike Roberson offered his encouragement and appreciation to everyone helping bolster the important work of Special Olympics.
“I’m excited that you’re here,” Sheriff Roberson said, addressing the runners. “Thank you for running with us. We’ve got the fire department here, the Highway Patrol, and our deputies. This is a group effort and I want to thank all of you for being part of this.”
Roberson offered a special thanks to the students from each of the high schools who joined the effort. “I’m so proud of the students who are here, the leaders in our schools who are involved in this inclusion,” the Sheriff said. “What you are doing is magical stuff for your community and you’re making a big difference in other people’s lives.”
The Chatham County torch relays were part of a broader statewide endeavor involving more than 2,000 law enforcement officers covering more than 2,000 miles, culminating on June 2 with the Circle of Honor and lighting of the cauldron at the 2023 Special Olympics N.C. Summer Games Opening Ceremony in Raleigh. The united effort champions the cause and raises awareness of the important work done by Special Olympics for individuals with intellectual disabilities.
In North Carolina alone, nearly 2,000 law enforcement personnel annually contribute their support to the LETR for Special Olympics. Since its inception in 1981, the LETR has raised approximately $900 million globally, with more than $30 million benefiting Special Olympics North Carolina.