Special Olympians, Law Enforcement Carry Torch Through Topeka

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Bright orange shirts mirrored the brightly-burning orange flame carried by a special group of runners who made their way down Topeka's streets early Wednesday morning.

Special Olympic athletes helped light the flame for the annual Law Enforcement Torch Run. Several of them then joined personnel from the Topeka Police, Shawnee County Sheriff, Kansas Highway Patrol and state and county corrections on their first mile taking the flame on its journey to Wichita.

Each year, law enforcement across the state take part in torch runs to raise money for Special Olympics, with the flames meeting up to light the cauldron for the Kansas Special Olympics games.

Bekah Henderson and Trevor Hallman were among those who took part in Wednesday's events. Both will compete this weekend in Wichita and they've also qualified for the national games later this month in New Jersey. Asked what Special Olympics has meant to them, both talked about making friends and having fun, with Trevor adding the people he has met are like a family.

Topeka Police Detective Kristi Powell has been involved with Special Olympics events for several years and says the young people have come to mean a lot to her.

"To see these kids accomplish things - you can't even measure that," she said.

The Topeka-area officers carried the flame to Beto Junction, where they handed it off to Lyon County law enforcement agencies Wednesday evening. The state games begin Friday in Wichita.

13's Melissa Brunner was invited to join the first leg of the torch run with the group.