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Special Olympics Torch Run to be held

The Poplarville leg of the Mississippi Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run will be held Thursday.

Poplarville Police Chief Charles Fazende said that between six and eight members of the Poplarville Police Department, Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department and Poplarville Fire Department will participate in the run, which is held to raise awareness for the Special Olympics. The Poplarville run is one of three runs to be held Thursday, with other runs in Hattiesburg and Stone County.

The run will start at the courthouse on Main Street around 1:30 p.m. and will end at Poplarville High School.

Fazende said Biloxi police officer Vickie Lee was the one who came to him about involving Poplarville in the Torch run. This is the first year Poplarville has participated in the run.

Lee, a former member of the Poplarville Police Dept., said in a phone interview Friday that the Mississippi run is an event in which agencies all across the state participate. The run will be a week-long event, starting Monday with a run in Southaven. Three cars of volunteers will travel across the state, and will assist with approximately 30 runs.

The torch run is held as a precursor to the Mississippi Special Olympics, which is at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi. Opening ceremonies for the Special Olympics are Friday night, followed by the Olympic events on Saturday. The athletic competition is for both mentally and physically challenged individuals.

The state games are held in preparation for the World Games, which will be held in Shanghai, China, in October. Picayune native Todd Knobel Ornstein will compete in sailing as part of Team USA at the World Games.

Lee said anyone interested in more information about the Special Olympics can contact Biloxi Assistant Police Chief Rodney McGilvary, who is the state director for the torch run, at (228) 435-6100.

For donations, checks should be made payable to Mississippi Special Olympics and can be sent to Biloxi Police Department, attn. Rodney McGilvary, 170 Porter Avenue, Biloxi, MS 39530. All proceeds go towards meeting the needs of the athletes, including paying for items such as medals, T-shirts, meals, lodging, etc.