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thedrifter
05-22-08, 06:36 AM
Marines, law enforcement officers carry torch for Special Olympics

May 21, 2008 - 8:14PM
Sue Book
Sun Journal

Marines from the Cherry Point Provost Marshal Office carried the Special Olympics torch for 24 miles Wednesday in the seventh leg of a law enforcement statewide run.

The 18 military police took the "Flame of Hope" from Havelock Police at Slocum Road and ran to Union Point in New Bern, where they passed it on to New Bern police.

"Marines usually get the last leg of torch runs," said Master Sgt. Bruce Parrish, one of the organizers from the Provost Marshal Office who was happy to get a rest before an official workout later in the day.

"We ran it in just under two hours," he said. "As we came back I was joking that I think we broke a world record."

Parrish is 40 and said he was probably the oldest participant of the Cherry Point group. "Most of them were probably half my age; the majority were between 20 and 26," he said.

This is his first year running the North Carolina Law Enforcement Torch Run for the Special Olympics but he has participated in recent years in Virginia.

"These were all volunteers," said Parrish. "The only thing bigger than a Marine's fighting spirit is their compassion and willingness to give of their time to help others."

The 2,000-mile torch run ends with a ceremony that lights a cauldron signifying the June 6 opening of Special Olympics North Carolina Summer Games in Raleigh.

Across the state, the Special Olympics torch is carried by more than 2,000 law enforcement and corrections officers representing more than 200 agencies, according to the Special Olympics Web site.

On Wednesday, it went from Atlantic Beach to Morehead City to Havelock and New Bern with law enforcement personnel participating from departments in Atlantic Beach, N.C. State Highway Patrol, Beaufort, Emerald Isle, Carteret County Corrections, Havelock, Cherry Point, and New Bern.

Ellie