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Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run stops in Aberdeen

Law enforcement and Special Olympics athletes walked down 3rd Street from Simmons Middle School to Simmons Elementary.
Published: May. 17, 2022 at 3:17 PM CDT
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ABERDEEN, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run made its way to Aberdeen Tuesday morning. Law enforcement and Special Olympics athletes walked down 3rd Street from Simmons Middle School to Simmons Elementary.

The tradition of taking the torch across South Dakota before the state’s Summer Special Olympic Games began in the late 1980s.

In Aberdeen, students from Simmons got to take a break from class to cheer on the athletes in the parade.

”I know they love it and it means the world to them because they don’t usually get that round of applause, but they deserve it, so it’s awesome to see,” said Turner Gaines, Event Manager of the Torch Run.

Aberdeen Police Officer Angela Senger is one of the local organizers of the Law Enforcement Torch Run. For her, the event is personal.

”I have a disability as well of being dyslexic. So going through school, I know it’s hard and I know it’s hard to focus,” said Officer Senger.

She knows firsthand that disabilities don’t limit your potential.

”I overcame that and became a law enforcement officer for the last 23 years. I just know all of our Olympians and anyone that has any type of disability, they can go out and do anything that they want,” said Officer Senger.

Law enforcement officers sponsor the event as a way to show their support for their local athletes.

“We work hard in our job and the Olympians work hard to do their best in school and in their sporting events. We strongly support our athletes and we just believe that anybody that wants to try and get out and do something new and fun that we want to make sure that they know they have all of our support,” said Officer Senger.

One athlete that Officer Senger will be supporting this weekend is 6th grader Zach Bau. Bau competes in track, but his favorite event is swimming.

”It’s because I want to be like a sea animal,” said Bau.

His favorite sea animals are seals and sea lions.

The Law Enforcement Torch Run also made additional stops in Redfield, Huron and Mitchell on Tuesday. Its journey ends Thursday evening in Spearfish for the opening ceremony of the South Dakota Special Olympic Summer Games.

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