Jun 18, 2019 | By: Shirelle Moore

Special Olympics Torch Run Kicks Off At Paul & Babe In Bemidji

It’s Special Olympics week in Minnesota, and if you look out your window at just the right moment, you just see a supporter doing a leg of the annual Torch Run.

“We are trying to get the word out for Special Olympics. I know that – well, we’re kind of running from Bemidji all the way down to the Cities, and it’s kind of fun,” says supporter Nash Tietz.

Local law enforcement and supporters started the run today at Paul and Babe in Bemidji. Today’s leg ends in Pequot Lakes for a total of 75 miles.

“What I like about it is it’s kind of a positive thing we can do as law enforcement officers to do our small little part, I guess,” says Brian Birt, a deputy sheriff with Beltrami County.

Bidal Duran with the Bemidji Police Department adds, “It’s our way to kind of help support the Special Olympics. Just helping being a partner and raise some funds, raise awareness for a great event and a great organization.”

Generally, it’s a tradition for the Special Olympics athletes to start the run with the law enforcement officers. This year, many showed up to start the walk.

“We’re here to see the torch take off and to see them go down to the special Olympics because it’s such a wonderful opportunity for people,” says Frances Kiefer, whose son is a Special Olympics athlete.

For many of these athletes, the Special Olympics is a truly one-of-kind place. Many athletes from the Bemidji area have been multiple times. They spend countless days practicing their crafts to get ready for the event.

“I’m going to state this weekend for Special Olympics for swimming. I’ve done it for over 30 years and I enjoy just getting together with other people with disabilities,” says Renee Miller, a Special Olympics athlete.

Shawn Kiefer, another Special Olympics athlete, says about his favorite part of the games, “Meeting different people and good food and just having a wonderful time.”

Law enforcement also agrees that it’s one of their favorite causes to support. They enjoy working with the Special Olympics as well as other law enforcement agencies.

Duran says, “Just for law enforcement being there for each other and helping each other out, I mean, we’re really public servants, right? So this is one way for us to get together and kind of give back to our community and work as a team and show everybody that, ‘hey, we’re here not only just for us, but we want give back to the community just as much as everybody else.’”

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