Law enforcement carry torch of hope for Special Olympics - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE;

Law enforcement carry torch of hope for Special Olympics

Posted By: Bayley Bischof Channel 8 Eyewitness News 

Law enforcement officers from seven different agencies traded in uniforms for running shoes Wednesday.  

The came together, to carry the torch of hope and kick-off the 2018 Special Olympics summer games.

"Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt,” said Christian Beard, Special Olympics Athlete.

This year marks 50 years of the Special Olympics, but Carolyn Chamberlin, CEO of Nebraska Special Olympics said they’re celebrating more than time.

“We are celebrating lives,” Chamberlin said. “Lives that were locked in institutions, lives that were ignored and lives that were lived in the shadows."

The partnership with law enforcement began nearly 30 years ago in Kansas.

Now it's a global partnership that Chamberlin said raises more than 50 Million dollars every year.

But officers said it’s about more than the money.

It's about the athletes.

"We're their protectors,” Char Estes, with LPD said. “We are the guardians of the flame, so we carry that flame of hope for athletes."

After the run, a ceremony honored runners and athletes.

Beard, who’s swam in the Olympics since he was 8-years-old had a message for the supporters.

"On behalf of all of my Special Olympics brothers and sisters and myself, I would like to say thank you to all of you here today,” Beard said.

But Chief Deputy for the Lancaster County Sheriff's Office, Todd Duncan, said it's the athletes that deserve the thanking.

"Thank you for showing the rest of us what it really looks like to give all you've got, through your courage, determination and competitive spirit,” Duncan said.

The Special Olympics start Thursday in Omaha.

Athletes from all across the state will compete in seven different sports.

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