Torch Run passes through county

The morning commute along U.S. 31 in Pelham and Alabaster slowed to a creep Friday as police officers, sheriff’s deputies, district attorneys and other government officials from across the state participated in the annual Alabama Law Enforcement Torch Run.

The two-day run, which is held in support of the Special Olympics, kicked off in Decatur and Hartselle May 14. Runners gathered outside Pelham City Hall around 8:30 a.m. to start the Shelby County leg.

Pelham Revenue Director Mike Morgan, wife Becky and special needs son Michael Dale were honored as Alabama’s Special Olympics Family of the Year during the opening ceremonies. Michael Dale is active in The Exceptional Foundation in Homewood, where Becky is an event coordinator.

“We tried little league ball for a while when (Michael Dale) was young, but it’s very important for special needs children to compete on an equal playing field,” Mike said. “When he competes and places first or third it doesn’t make a difference. He tells me every time, ‘Dad, I won.’”

Mike added, “Without the dollars you guys are raising we would not be able to do that, so from the bottom of my heart I want to tell you all thank you. My family thanks you.”

Pelham Mayor Don Murphy and Pelham Police Chief Tommy Thomas also offered remarks.

“The Special Olympics could not exist with people like you who’ve devoted your time, your energy, your commitment and enthusiasm to a project like this,” Thomas said. “So today take pride in what you’re doing.”

Lt. Ken Atkinson of the Homewood Police Department, director of the Torch Run, ignited the Flame of Hope that guided the runners down U.S 31 and finally to Alabaster City Hall.

The run will continue through Montgomery and participants will cross the finish line in Troy later today.