AP NEWS

Windy weather doesn’t deter Special Olympics torch bearers

April 11, 2019

BULLHEAD CITY — A warning by the National Weather Service about strong winds making boating hazardous Wednesday prompted organizers of the Special Olympics Arizona Torch Run not to transport the Flame of Hope by kayak on the Colorado River this time around.

Instead, the Bullhead City Police Department opted to carry the flame by land from La Puerta Road at Highway 68 to Community Park.

The BHCPD’s involvement with the run is to raise awareness and funds for the Special Olympics. The department has been helping Special Olympics for years.

“It’s something that appeals to us to get involved with and it’s something we’re really proud to do,” said Cpl. David Finney, the event liaison for the BHCPD. “And we were the first ones to have a torch run with a kayak portion.”

Just not this year.

A law enforcement agency in Kansas started the run in 1981 for its area Special Olympics organization. Between 1981 and 2015, police and other law enforcement organizations around the world have raised more than $619 million for Special Olympics organizations.

Local efforts such as the BHCPD’s have community activities accompanying their torch runs. In Bullhead City, a breakfast reception in honor of the occasion was held at Community Park. Residents were invited and donations to Special Olympics Arizona were happily accepted.

First response vehicles were on display under the main ramada at the park and people could enjoy music, games and free breakfast.

At 8:30 a.m., the torch was carried from the park and taken south on Highway 95 by runners from the BHCPD.

After a change in runners to include members of the Mohave High School Air Force Junior ROTC, a cheering section that included special education students welcomed the flame-bearers as they passed the high school a little later in the morning.

The local run ended at the southern city limit, where the flame was handed off to the Special Olympics for further use.

Special Olympics Arizona will hold the 2019 Summer Games May 4-6 at Kellis High School in Glendale. The 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games were held last month in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Desert River Kayak had planned the kayak portion of the torch run, from Davis Camp to Community Park, as a fundraiser; with the winds scrapping that outing, organizers are trying to replace it with another kayak outing at a later date with the Key Club at Mohave Accelerated Learning Center trying to put something together.

For information about donating to Special Olympics — or the organization itself — call Lorrie Duggins at 928-715-0222.