‘He would have loved this’

Torch Run honors past, present and future Special Olympians

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

* Photo gallery – more than 800 images
* May 11: ‘Run to me!’
* 2014 PDP Torch Run coverage
* 2014 PDP Special Olympics coverage

ROCKINGHAM — Denise Smith looked around the covered pavilion at the Steele Street access point of the Hitchcock Creek Blue Trail.

Smith observed some two dozen law enforcement professionals, family members and athletes who participated in Richmond County’s Special Olympics event 11 days ago enjoy each other’s fellowship with laughter, storytelling and hot dogs fresh off the grill … and everything she saw was good.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com The Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics passes the once Great Falls Mill along Highway 74 Business in West Rockingham.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
The Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics passes the once Great Falls Mill along Highway 74 Business in West Rockingham.

Personnel with the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, the local office of Probation and Parole, the Hamlet Police Department and the North Carolina Highway Patrol had just completed the 3.7-mile run Friday morning from the Richmond County Animal Shelter carrying the Special Olympics torch. The event aims to inspire awareness and recognition of the effort made by Special Olympics athletes and the small army of volunteers that works to make it happen.

Smith couldn’t help but pull down a memory from the attic of her mind. She thought of Chester Moss. Chester was Smith’s cousin who lived with physical and mental handicaps. Chester, though, was a social butterfly and a mainstay in the former Moss Bros. Store in West Rockingham.

“He would have loved this,” Smith said.

Smith said Chester knew every one of the store’s regular customers.

“He was around people all the time,” Smith said. “He was a constant figure there. He knew everybody. He had a child’s mind and a child’s heart. I miss him.”

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Smith and Lt. John Edwards of the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office were once again instrumental in staging the annual Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics. The run has evolved from a county-to-county distant event from the Anson to Scotland lines to last year  9.6-mile run from the R.W. Goodman Bridge to Hinson Lake. This year, the course was cut by more than half.

Suddenly the distance, and a few less-than-friendly hills, didn’t seem so intimidating to so many. More than two dozen began the run a few minutes after 10 a.m. The sun was high in the sky but the air was a seasonably cool 64 degrees.

“It allowed a lot more people to run,” Smith said of the modified course.

Chester, who was killed when struck by an automobile on late Spring night in 2000 while in his 50s, was never a Special Olympian.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Runners head down Steele Street towards the Hitchcock Creek access point, the trail and the finish line of Friday morning's run.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Runners head down Steele Street towards the Hitchcock Creek access point, the trail and the finish line of Friday morning’s run.

“They didn’t do this then,” Smith said. “They didn’t have this. That’s why I do this.”

“This” was made possible in part because of the cooperation between local law enforcement agencies, one part logistical support — North Carolina Highway Patrol, Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, FirstHealth EMS and Rockingham Police Department — and one part participation, which included many of those agencies along with Probation and Parole and the Hamlet Police Department.

There was no official time recorded for the run, but Highway Patrol 1st Sgt. Joheliah Wilson stopped her GPS watch in 35 minutes and 26 seconds, an approximate pace of 9 minutes and 34 seconds per mile.

* * * 

Those who ran include: from the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office — Lt. John Edwards, Det. Stephen Gerald, Deputy Travis Monroe, Deputy Kevin Viona, Sgt. N.L. Forrester, Deputy Dabrielle McMillian, Telecommunication Wendi Clewis and Det. Landon Cowick; from Probation and Parole — Jason Graham, Chavis Everett, Corey Willett, Ryan Gibson, Riquita McNeil, Ashley Brower and daughter Savanna Brower; from the Hamlet Police Department — Lt. Heather Wyatt; from the North Carolina Highway Patrol — Trooper Mike Lindsey, Trooper Clint Greene and 1st Sgt. Joheliah Wilson; and civilian Brandon Silva, a student at Richmond County Ninth Grade Academy.

Editor’s note: Please send an email to peedeepost@gmail.com if you ran and your name and agency is not listed or if it is misspelled. 

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

 

Filed in: Featured News, Hamlet, Latest Headlines, News, Outdoors, Public safety, Rockingham

You might like:

GAP program fills a hole for ‘hands-on’ experience GAP program fills a hole for ‘hands-on’ experience
Sit back for an ‘interesting story’ Sit back for an ‘interesting story’
Cash available for crime-solving tips Cash available for crime-solving tips
Rotruck sues Town of Summerfield Rotruck sues Town of Summerfield
© 2018 The Pee Dee Post. All rights reserved. XHTML / CSS Valid.