Shreveport, LA (KMSS) — With a light of the torch, runners were off. They started a cross state run from Caddo Correctional Center to Hammond, where the Special Olympics will take place. Law enforcement from Caddo Parish met with Bossier Parish officers at the Texas Street bridge before making their way to the Caddo Parish Courthouse, all the while, running with the Olympic torch, and some of the local Olympians heading to Hammond.
While sports may be what drives the Special Olympics, that isn’t all the participants get out of it. Parent Charlene Boles had a hard time listing all of the benefits, saying, “where do I start? Socialization, being able to say I've accomplished something. Fitting in." Boles went on to talk about what might be the most important lesson learned from the games, confidence. "They're able to do all these things people have told them they couldn't do for all these lengths of time. They can run. They can throw a softball, play softball, play volleyball, play bochi, they can do it all."
For many local law enforcement officers, helping these Olympians on their trek to Hammond makes all the bad parts of their job bearable. Corporal Diana Sanchez of the Shreveport Police Department explained, "this is the best thing that I've ever done. I think it's the most rewarding. As far as law enforcement, a lot of times we see a lot of negativity, but to be able to do stuff like this for these awesome people, it's just the most rewarding thing that you can do in your career."
The Special Olympics start next Friday, with 71 competitors from Northwest Louisiana.