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Suffolk police carry torch

The “Flame of Hope” lights the fire at the Special Olympics and the spirits of those participating.

Acting as its convoy, members of the Suffolk Police Department ran seven miles in Thursday’s midday heat to carry the torch, which was passed to them from the Portsmouth’s police department at their border and which they passed the state police at the Isle of Wight border.

“If you’ve ever seen someone compete in the Special Olympics, it pulls at your heart strings,” said Suffolk Police Department Lieutenant Tim Davenport, who organized Suffolk’s participation in the run. “They’re giving 150 percent to compete. This is the least we can do to show our support for them. It’s a good tool to show them we care and support their strength and efforts.”

Several torches throughout Virginia were lit, and each will be run through various parts of the state by the law enforcement in the city or county and passed on to the officers in the next city or county.

“We all run the torches, and they converge in Richmond for the opening of the state games,” Davenport said.

Davenport said he believed the torch carried through Suffolk was lit in Virginia Beach earlier Thursday morning and went through Norfolk, Chesapeake and Portsmouth. It continued through Isle of Wight County, Newport News, Hampton and up through Williamsburg.

Supporting the men and women who compete in the Special Olympics is a commitment the Suffolk Police Department has made for “well over 15 to 20 years,” Davenport said.

This year’s convoy included 18 Suffolk police men and women from all divisions and departments.

“They ran on a complete volunteer basis,” Davenport said. “It was fun, but it was a hot day, but everyone still came out and showed up.”