05/24/09 — Officers help with Olympics Torch Run

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Officers help with Olympics Torch Run

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on May 24, 2009 2:00 AM

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Goldsboro police Chief Tim Bell, left, lights the torch for Marcus Cox, center, 2009 Special Olympics Athlete of the Year, while Ryan Hood, right, Special Olympics global messenger, looks on prior to the start of the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics on Friday.

Ryan Hood, a "global messenger" for the Special Olympics, began his Friday morning trotting next to police officers and the athlete of the year.

It was the local leg of the Law Enforcement Officers Torch Run for Special Olympics, a 13-mile journey that began with words of encouragement outside the Goldsboro police station.

As part of his position, Hood discusses Special Olympics programming and policy with outsiders.

"I'm going to be right here beside (athlete of the year) Marcus (Cox), running the path," Hood said. "It's a job that I was trained to do, and it's a job that I'm proud of, very proud, to be (doing)."

Goldsboro police Chief Tim Bell spoke to the crowd, encouraging Cox and the 2008 Athlete of the Year Allen Jenkins.

"We just appreciate everyone coming out for this, helping out," the chief said. "We need you to be here, and you are here."

Wayne County Commun-ity Corrections representative Heather Bevell was responsible for much of the organization of the run, which included law enforcement runners from as far away as Smithfield.

Ms. Bevell brought together the bike riders, athletes and law enforcement officers who made up the run, the goal of which is to raise money for Special Olympics. The pledge drive for the program fell a bit short of its $6,000 goal for this year, however, organizers said.

The running path began outside of the police station on John Street, then went right on Chestnut Street, left on William Street, right on Royall Avenue, then to Head's Grocery near the Greene County line.

At Head's Grocery, deputies from the Greene County Sheriff's Office joined to finish out the last 10 miles with the group.

"This is so important because we're raising awareness, raising money for people with disabilities, people who can't always speak for themselves," Ms. Bevell said. "I know the (law enforcers) doing this are proud to be here, as am I."