Law enforcement officials gear up for annual Special Olympics LA Torch Run

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POSTED: Thursday, May 22, 2014 - 3:34pm

UPDATED: Saturday, May 24, 2014 - 11:53am

Right now, 13,000 Special Olympics athletes can't compete because there's not enough money, but law enforcement officials from around the state want to help. So they're getting ready for the annual Torch Run.

Baton Rouge Chief of Police Carl Dabadie has been a part of the Special Olympics for more than 25 years. He said it's his honor to be a part of such a good cause.

"Well it started out that it was mandated that I escort the torch runners, and in doing that I was involved and got to meet the athletes," Dabadie said. "For me, once you meet the athletes and you interact with them, they take your heart."

That's how he feels about Special Olympics Louisiana, and it hits close to home.

"It shows everybody else that we are people. You know, we have a lot of law enforcement officers in the state that have Special Olympic athletes," Dabadie said. "Sheriff Wiley in Ascension has a granddaughter who is a Special Olympics athlete. So, you know, it all hits home. It all hits close to us, and we know, chances are everybody knows somebody who gets some benefits from Special Olympics."

Right now, Special Olympics Louisiana serves 13,000 athletes with disabilities, but even with all the fundraisers, there's still not enough money.

"The problem is we have 13,000 more that are waiting," Dabadie explained. "Just due to we not having enough funding to sponsor them in these athletic competition."

The annual Torch Run is expected to help. More than a thousand officers will run a torch from the State Capitol to Hammond as part of the opening ceremony for this year's competition.Dabadie said it's not an easy run. It takes a lot of strength, but it's all worth it.

"It's heartwrenching and it's a good time," Dabadie said. "It will make sure you feel really good."

The Torch Run starts Friday morning at 8:00 on the steps of the Capitol.  

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