Law enforcement participates in torch run

Published 8:48 am Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Law enforcement personnel from all three Washington Parish entities had a hand on Monday in carrying the Special Olympics torch through the parish toward its final destination in Hammond.

The Special Olympics’ State Summer Games are scheduled for May 22 to 24 at Strawberry Stadium on the campus of Southeastern Louisiana University.

Bogalusa Police Department officers accepted the Special Olympics torch from Rayburn Correctional Center personnel as it made its way into the city limits at One Stop Convenience Store at Louisiana Highway 21 and City Limits Road for the first leg by the police department on the way through town.

Bogalusa Police Department officers who participated included patrolmen Hunter Creel, Joshua Herndon, Joshua Spinks and Cody Wilson-Hunt.

Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office personal included Detective Robert Harris, Detective Corbet Hunt, Deputy Damon Mitchell, Deputy Suzonne Jenkins, Deputy Christina Branch and Deputy Ann Estave.

Bogalusa Police Chief Joe Culpepper said he was proud his department took part.

“It’s an honor for me to participate in something like that because it’s such a worthy cause,” Culpepper said. “It’s something we’ve done for several years now, and it’s nice to be a part of that effort. Rayburn has kind of ramrodded this thing, and we take an active role in making it happen.”

Corbet is experienced in the relay.

“I’ve been a part of the run since 2000. It’s a way to support a very good organization,” Corbet said. “It’s my little way of giving back to that organization.

“We took it to the Franklinton town limits. We were fortunate yesterday to have had a little bit of rain, so it helped out. We were not running a marathon or anything.”

Franklinton Police Department personnel also participated. They included Corp. James Pugh, Charlie Lester and Maj. Justin Brown. This year, players on Franklinton Police Department’s 5- and 6-year-old Little League Baseball team joined in.

Franklinton Police Department participants took the torch from Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office. FPD’s leg started at Boyd’s Auto and ran down Washington Street the 1.5 miles to Winn Dixie. The torch was then handed back off to Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office and Rayburn Correctional Center runners. The torch was then taken to St. Tammany Parish. After the run, FPD runners were treated to a frozen Icee drink.

More than 800 athletes and their coaches from throughout Louisiana meet in Hammond for the Special Olympics competition. Competitions are in track and field, bocce, powerlifting and volleyball. The opening ceremonies are at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Strawberry Stadium. Closing ceremonies and the victory dance are in the Pennington Center at 6:30 p.m. Saturday.