© Jocelyn Turner - Amherst Daily News
Special Olympians presented Const. Tom Wood of the Amherst Police Department a plaque in honour of their continued support for the athletes through their annual torch run. Present were: Cont. Tom Wood (from left), Jason Chappel, John Hachey, Michelle Jaguary, Tim Bird, Robert Babineau, Patricia Spicer, Elsie Pettigrew, Vicki Harrison, Maryann Belliveau, rebecca Sprague, Ryan Mootrey and Alan Melanson.
AMHERST – The Be a Fan campaign, buying red laces in support of the Special Olympics, is kicking off its 44th year. With it, the 25th Annual Torch Run where members of law enforcement tie up their red laces in support of their local Special Olympic Athletes.
“It’s a celebration of the accomplishments of the special needs and law enforcement community,” said Wood. “The police chiefs across Canada donate to their charity of choice. And we’re kind of (the Special Olympic athletes’) biggest fans. All the officers have their red laces on for this day. It’s near and dear to police officers across Canada.”
Coach Mike LeBlanc said the tour around the police station and knowing the officers support them is very special.
“They enjoy this tremendously,” he said. “They like being part of the community and they are special people. They definitely enjoy this and they are a good bunch.”
After a tour of the police stations, the athletes went out to the parking lot to explore one of the squad cars. Const. Wood let some of the athletes sit in the front seat and try out the sirens. Athlete Michelle Jaguary loved the tour.
“I think it’s nice,” she said. “They help people out when they need help. They come and arrest people with the handcuffs and that. I like that.”
In honour of the 25th year of the Torch Run, Wood was presented a plaque on behalf of the Special Olympic athletes in the Amherst area.
The Special Olympics Amherst team has programs for their athletes running from mid October until July with practices on Sundays from 1 to 2:30 p.m. The athletes will be heading to the first round of Olympic games in Yarmouth in July.