Special Olympians and Sanders County law enforcement are teaming up for this year’s Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) for Special Olympics Montana this Saturday, May 11.
Sanders County Sheriff’s Office reserve deputy Brandi Jones is coordinating the event for the first time this year, following a long line of distinguished officers shouldering that duty.
The Sanders County portion of the Torch Run relay features horse riders (from the local club), runners, walkers and bicyclists. The run begins at 7 a.m. one mile inside the Idaho border, and the “Flame of Hope” proceeds east on Highway 200 to the 75-mile marker in Plains — a 74-mile trek. Participants will arrive for a barbecue lunch with the Special Olympians at the Thompson Falls Rural Fire Hall west of town. — near the turnoff to River’s Edge Golf Course. From there, the T-Falls Special Olympic athletes — known as the Super Hawks — and others on the trek will parade through Thompson Falls, before it continues its journey on to Plains.
The local horse group is expected to join the march near mile marker 19 and ride into Thompson Falls.
According to Jones, there will be Montana Highway Patrol troopers driving just ahead of and behind the participants on the roadway. She said local ambulance and Sanders County Sheriff’s Office units will also be involved.
Once the LETR active participants get to the edge of Plains, the Little Bitterroot Special Olympians will join and march proudly to the east edge of town. That is where the Sanders County LETR for Special Olympics participation ends.
“I’d like to see in the future more law enforcement [personnel] running,” Jones said, “but we’re going to do what we can.”
During a conversation last week, Jones said the county’s LETR organizers were looking for a suitable “torch” to carry during the run.
“It’s huge. It’s something we definitely need to keep up with,” Jones said. “It’s volunteer and it’s super hard to head it up. Those Special Olympics kids really look up to law enforcement. As law enforcement, we’re really a blessing to them.”
To get involved in the torch run to benefit and support Sanders County Special Olympians, and to donate and purchase T-shirts, contact Jones at the Sheriff’s Office, 406-847-3333. T-shirts are $15, and participants gathering more than $100 in pledges or shirt sales will receive a long-sleeve guardian shirt. All proceeds from T-shirt sales help support Special Olympics in Montana.