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Clayton cops, firemen complete ‘final leg’ of Special Olympics Torch run

Photo by Jim Massara
Some of the 50 runners who helped carry the Special Olympics torch through Clayton County. First row: Eugene Peterkin, Samuel Smith, Greg Porter, Tim Robinson, Tracy Jakes. Second row: Chris Bowen, Scott Ward, Jeff McHenry, Rick Webster, Joe Woodall. Back row: Richard Godfrey, Johnny Robinson.

Photo by Jim Massara Some of the 50 runners who helped carry the Special Olympics torch through Clayton County. First row: Eugene Peterkin, Samuel Smith, Greg Porter, Tim Robinson, Tracy Jakes. Second row: Chris Bowen, Scott Ward, Jeff McHenry, Rick Webster, Joe Woodall. Back row: Richard Godfrey, Johnny Robinson.

Runners from Clayton County’s police, sheriff’s and fire departments carried the Special Olympic torch for its final run Thursday morning in advance of the games, to be held this weekend at Emory University.

About 50 runners from the three agencies carried the torch from the Clayton County Police headquarters in Jonesboro to the Home Depot on Jonesboro Road and Ruskin Drive, just this side of the Fulton County line.

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Photo by Jim Massara Clayton County police chief Greg Porter, holding torch, leads dozens of runners from Clayton public-safety agencies to raise awareness for Special Olympics.

Although billing the run as the “final leg” was largely symbolic — the torch was then packed up and transported to Special Olympics headquarters in Atlanta Thursday afternoon, to be re-lit by Gov. Nathan Deal at a special ceremony Friday morning — Clayton officers and firemen were the last in metro Atlanta to carry the torch before the games.

Public-service agencies carried the torch over the last two weeks to raise awareness and raise money via pledges for this weekend’s games, according to Clayton County Police Sgt. Tracy Jakes — and “most of the runners who started actually finished the run.”

More than 100 agencies throughout Georgia helped carry the torch, said Danny Knight, director of the run for Special Olympics in Georgia. Knight said their efforts this year with the torch run and other activities have raised about $500,000 for Special Olympics.

The games, devoted to children and adults with intellectual disabilities, start Friday at Emory University and continue through Sunday.