Law enforcement in Butler County carried out a special assignment last week — transporting a torch that came from Lyons County enroute to Sedgwick County.

It was the 2019 Special Olympics Torch Run.

“It is an honor for us to give back to our communities,” said Sgt. Luke Grimes with the Butler County Sheriff’s Department. “... So often we are arresting people, separating families by taking mom to jail or pulling kids out of homes. This (the torch run) is a bright side. We get to provide some good for our community … something the public sees is a positive note.”

The torch made its way through Butler County on May 31. Participating agencies included the Augusta Department of Public Safety, Andover Police Department, Butler County Sheriff’s Office, Kansas Department of Corrections and El Dorado Police Department helped the torch move through Butler County.

“We have  a bunch of good people who give us not only runner, but fundraisers for this,” Grimes said.

All members of law enforcement (city, county, state and  federal) are encouraged to register for the Torch Run in their local community.  Each runner is asked to raise at least $50 to support the athletes of Special Olympics Kansas. Sponsorship of runners is encouraged.

Butler County runners included law enforcement members and their families this year.

In Butler County, torch runners are able to meet some of the athletes who compete in the Special Olympics

According to the Special Olympics of Kansas website, this run turned fundraising campaign raises thousands of dollars for Special Olympics.

In late April the Torch Run season begins when the Flame of Hope travels from all corners of the state throughout the month of May to the State Summer Games in Wichita.

Officers from many different agencies escort the Flame of Hope on assigned legs throughout their communities. The “Final Leg” is the culmination of the run, from Wichita City Hall to the Opening Ceremony of the Summer Games at Wichita State University. The Most Inspirational Athlete of the preceding year carries the Torch into the stadium escorted by the officers and together they light the cauldron to open the State Summer Games. Officers award medals throughout the three days of competition.

“Some of us get to go to the summer games and hand out medals,” Grimes said. “That is a highlight for them, that an officer gives them a medal or ribbons to them. Seeing their camaraderie and sportsmanship is very heartwarming. They have a different outlook … they are competitive, but all about winning — it is not.”