NEW: Traveling Torch

Special Olympics Virginia Torch Passes Through Harrisonburg

Posted: June 5, 2014

Daily News-Record

Roughly 50 Harrisonburg police officers, Rockingham County sheriff's deputies and special athletes to run through Harrisonburg and Rockingham County, carrying the torch for Special Olympics Virginia today. (Photo by Pete DeLea)

For roughly the last 15 years, Harrisonburg resident Amy Sager has been fielding ground balls at shortstop on various teams throughout the Shenandoah Valley.

The 32-year-old will be headed to Richmond this weekend to participate in the annual Special Olympics Virginia.

She said she loves being in the mix of things.

“There’s more action in the infield,” said Sager.

Sager was among roughly 50 Harrisonburg police officers, Rockingham County sheriff's deputies and special athletes to run through Harrisonburg and Rockingham County, carrying the torch for Special Olympics Virginia today.

The torch eventually will make its way to Richmond to kick off the Special Olympics Virginia 2014 Summer Games, which begin tomorrow.

Before tomorrow's games start, more than 2,000 officers will have carried the Special Olympics Flame of Hope more than 1,900 miles across Virginia, according to the organization.

Tammy Torkelson, a mother of a special athlete and area coordinator for the organization, has been involved in games for more than a decade.

She said it’s thrilling to see the athletes so happy.

“It’s overwhelming,” she said. “It makes your heart swell. They take such pride in what they do.”

The local leg of the torch run began Wednesday morning in New Market. The participants ran south on U.S. 11 to Harrisonburg, stopping at the SunTrust Bank on East Market Street. The runners resumed their travel this morning along U.S. 11 and continued into Augusta County.

In its 29th year, the torch run has raised more than $14 million for Special Olympics Virginia.

Sgt. Todd Miller with the Harrisonburg Police Department has been running in the annual event for about five years.

“It’s fun to come out with the athletes,” said Miller. “The athletes love the interaction with law enforcement. It’s a way to help them out and give them support.”

Patrol Deputy J.C. Nutter with the Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office participated in his second torch run.

He said he enjoys making the athletes happy.

“They have a smile on their face just as big as we do,” he said.

Contact Pete DeLea at 574-6278 or pdelea@dnronline.com



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