Helping Heroes

Members of the Shelby County Law Enforcement Officers Torch Run for Special Olympic organization work year-round to promote and support the Special Olympics, and on May 15 and 16, they will run the torch across the state for the Alabama Special Olympic Games. (Contributed)

Members of the Shelby County Law Enforcement Officers Torch Run for Special Olympic organization work year-round to promote and support the Special Olympics, and on May 15 and 16, they will run the torch across the state for the Alabama Special Olympic Games. (Contributed)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

PELHAM—With the state Special Olympics less than a month away, Shelby County members of the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics organization are working hard to raise money and awareness for the games in preparation for their annual Law Enforcement Torch Run.

“The organization is made up internationally of law enforcement officers working together to raise funds and awareness for the Special Olympics,” Lieutenant Mark Bishop of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office said.

Officers from across Shelby County work throughout the year to support the Special Olympics through various events, culminating in the running of the torch, lighting of the flame and welcoming athletes to the state Special Olympic Games in Troy, Ala.

In December, the organization held the Freezin’ for a Reason polar plunge at Oak Mountain State Park, and on April 25 and 26, they will host Cops on Top, an all-day music-filled fundraising event in the parking lot of the Pelham Walmart.

“We want people to come down, spend some time with us and have a good time,” Bishop said. “It’s to let everyone know what the Special Olympics are all about.”

The goal is to raise $10,000 during the two days of this year’s sixth annual Cops on Top event.

“We’ve made that goal every year, we don’t want to break our streak!” Bishop said.

After Cops on Top, the focus changes to the organization’s big event, the Torch Run. Law enforcement officers from across Alabama run legs of between one and two miles, bringing the Olympic torch to Troy, Ala. for the opening ceremony of the games.

The run will begin on May 15, passing through Pelham and ending in Troy on May 16. After the flame is lit, the officers will don their uniforms and welcome the athletes during the opening ceremony.

“My favorite part is going to Troy for the state games and high-fiving all the athletes as they go in,” Bishop, an eight-year participant of the run said. “It’s a very memorable experience, once you see it you want to keep coming back.”