Columbia County sheriff's deputies and auxiliary members pounded the pavement Monday for a special cause.
Eight law enforcement personnel took off running from Columbia Square toward the Columbia County Justice Center as part of the annual Law Enforcement Torch Run to benefit the Special Olympics Georgia.
Deputy Kara McGahee, who coordinated the 3-mile run, said the sheriff's office has participated in the run for about 15 years.
She's raised nearly $900 through the sale of T-shirts and bracelets.
"It all goes to the Special Olympics, every single bit," McGahee said.
The Torch Run began in Georgia in 1987 and is the largest annual fundraising event for the Special Olympics.
Each year, more than 1,000 law enforcement personnel from more than 100 agencies take part in the 1,000-mile, two-week torch relay to pass the Special Olympics Georgia Flame of Hope across the state. Nine relays converge at Emory University in Atlanta during the Summer Games Opening Ceremonies on Friday night.
"The last mile is run by law enforcement and some Special Olympic athletes," McGahee said.
Deputy David Wheeler led the runners with the torch down Ronald Reagan Drive, where six of the eight runners completed the run in 30 minutes.
Because neighboring counties do not participate in the torch run, McGahee said she had to mail the torch to Fayette County, who will pass it along to Gwinnett County. Dekalb County law enforcement will carry the torch into the stadium, where athletes will light the Olympic cauldron.
"Richmond and McDuffie (counties) don't do it," McGahee said. "So they can't pass it to us and we can't pass it off."
This year, like many in the past, sheriff's office deputies will take several Explorer Post cadets to the games, Capt. Clay Smith said.
"All of us and our cadets go up there," he said. "Security for them (at the games), that is what we usually handle."
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