On Saturday morning Law Enforcement agents from across Chattanooga will run the Special Olympics Torch from Miller Plaza to Red Bank High School to light the cauldron and kick off the 51st Annual Lloyd Ray Smith Spring Games. "This is our largest local gathering of athletes," officials said.
Known as Guardians of the Flame, law enforcement members and Special Olympics athletes carry the “Flame of Hope” into Opening Ceremonies of local competitions. They also carry it into Special Olympics State, Provincial, National, Regional and World Games.
There are over 97,000 law enforcement members that carry the “Flame of Hope” annually. The flame symbolizes "courage and celebration of diversity uniting communities around the globe."
Saturday’s run will start at 7:30 a.m. at Miller Plaza and continue in multiple legs, allowing additional officers to join the run. Stops along the course include Nikki’s on Frazier Avenue, Dayton Boulevard near Taco Bell, Food City in Red Bank, finishing at Red Bank High School’s track around 10:15 a.m. where they will meet Special Olympics athletes who will help carry the torch to light the cauldron and officially open the Spring Games.
"The mission of Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and with intellectual disabilities: with 4.4 million athletes in 170 countries -- and millions more volunteers and supporters. We are also a global social movement," officials said. "Our local program, Area 4 serves over 1,100 athletes in ten counties: Bledsoe, Bradley, Grundy, Hamilton, Marion, McMinn, Polk, Rhea and Sequatchie.