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Lawton police run Special Olympic torch through town

LAWTON, Okla._Lawton police officers were going the extra mile Monday to show their support for special needs students in the community.

Monday was the Law Enforcement Torch Run for the State Special Olympics, which kicks off Wednesday. Ten Lawton officers ran the torch from the police station to the Country Mart on Lee Boulevard.

They're running to give back to a community that means so much to them but, they didn't stop at running a few miles in Lawton. Two officers are transporting the torch all the way to Stillwater for the opening ceremony of the Special Olympics. They would normally hand off the torch to another department but this year they wanted to make the whole trip themselves.

This group of officers runs everyday, but this time they’re running for something much bigger.

"They give so much to us and to be able to give them just a little bit back in return. Make them feel as much appreciation as we feel when we get to do events with them and just spend time with them and show that we care," Sergeant Tonya Criger says being at the Special Olympics is a feeling she can't describe. "The welcome that they give us, the thank you and .the feeling of appreciation, love they have for us doing what we do is absolutely amazing."

Some of those athletes were outside of MacArthur High School to cheer them on.

"They're a part of the community that wants to be involved with everybody and that they care about everyone in the community and that they're there to protect us as well as to give what they can give," said Sandy Jones, Special Olympics coordinator.

Police Chief, James Smith, says he's proud that two of his officers are taking the torch all the way to the opening ceremony.

"The officers are out here everyday working on the streets, but also it shows that we are part of this community and we are willing and able to give back to the community at every opportunity that we can," said Chief Smith.

Criger says this leg of the run was her favorite part because she got to see the smiling faces of our local athletes.

"It's always so amazing to get to see them and run through the crowd, the high fives that you get and the thank you's, the tears and the laughter, it makes it all worth it," said Sgt. Criger.

Now, they aren't running the entire way, they have a car following closely behind. Criger and the other officer started their journey Monday morning in Hollis. They stopped in Lawton to run with the other officers and then they're heading to Davis for the night. Tuesday, they'll make their way to Oklahoma City before the final leg on Wednesday.

There are more than fifty athletes from MacArthur High School alone competing in this year's State Special Olympics. The games begin Wednesday and run through Friday.

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