By Kathy Jefcoats
JONESBORO — The 27th anniversary of the Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run will be observed in Clayton County Monday, said police officials.
Starting at 9:40 a.m. from Clayton County Police Department headquarters in Jonesboro, the run will continue for eight miles to Home Depot on Ruskin Drive. The torch should arrive about noon, said Officer Danielle Rosa.
Monies raised for the event are 100 percent donated toward funding the six state games. The games give children and adults with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to participate in learning skills and developing healthy habits, Rosa said.
Supporters can buy T-shirts for $12 in sizes from small to 3XL, or hats in camo or khaki for $12. Lanyards are on sale for $5. To purchase merchandise, contact Rosa at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 404-391-5119.
Rosa said the torch run is the largest statewide grassroots fundraiser for Special Olympics. The run will end Friday night at Emory University's McDonough Field. The torch will be used to light the cauldron during the opening ceremonies for the annual summer games.
More than 1,800 Special Olympians, Unified Partners and coaches from around the state will participate in the competition that includes aquatics, athletics, soccer, badminton, volleyball, tennis, gymnastics and table tennis.
The first International Special Olympics Summer Games were held in Chicago in 1968. However, Special Olympics started off in 1962 as a backyard summer camp for people with intellectual disabilities. The camp was organized by the late Eunice Kennedy Shriver, a sister of President Kennedy. Another sibling, Rosemary Kennedy, was born in 1918 with special needs. She died in 2005.