Thursday proved to be a great day for the 35th annual Law Enforcement Torch Run, the kick-off event for the Special Olympics Summer Games.
The Flame of Hope’s journey began May 18 in Pittsburg, and is traveling in more than 28 different legs throughout the state to its final destination in Durham to open the games on June 7.
On Thursday, local police officers from Bartlett, Conway and Jackson, organized by Conway Police Lt. Chris Mattei ran the torch from Jackson to Conway Village, starting at about 8:30 a.m. at the intersection of Route 16 and Ridge Road in Jackson.
The Carroll County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Sean Welch worked as a road guard with his police car.
The group ended at the Conway Village Fire Station at 97 Main St. around 11:30 a.m. for a barbecue lunch provided by the fire department.
“It was a perfect day for the run,” said Mattei, adding the weather was great.
Mattei told the Sun about 15 Conway Police Department members participated along with several more from Bartlett and Jackson. He was also pleased that members of the MWV Dolphins swim team joined them for the last bit of the run.
Eleven-year-old Dominick Sevigny of Madison, who is part of the MWV Dolphins swim team, carried the torch from just past the Peer Support Center to the fire station. He said carrying the torch was “awesome.”
Fellow Dolphin teammate Nick Hines said he was “so proud to be on the swim team,” and they will be going to the summer games.
“I’m glad I’ll be on the swim team,” said Hines, who also added he had an “awesome time” at the torch run.
Along the route people from the community, including students from John Fuller Elementary School and Robert Frost Charter School, and staff from the therapy department of Memorial Hospital, came out to cheer the runners on.
“We’d like to thank them for their support every year,” Mattei said.
Jackson Police Chief Chris Perley said there was a “full contingent” of Jackson officers. Perley said the officers picked up the torch near the Shannon Door Pub and ran the village loop and to the Bartlett line.
“It was a great day for a run and everybody logged a lot of miles,” said Perley. “It’s easy when you keep in mind why we are out here and who we are supporting — the athletes of the Special Olympics.”
The Ossipee to Wolfeboro Torch Run will take place May 31 starting on Pork Hill Road at 10 a.m. and ending at the Wolfeboro Police Department.
The ultimate destination for the flame is the University of New Hampshire in Durham.
There, on June 7, it will ignite the cauldron during the opening ceremonies of the Special Olympics New Hampshire State Summer Games, where 800 athletes from across New Hampshire will go for the gold in athletics, bocce, equestrian, power lifting, sprint triathlon and swimming.
“I think the run is awesome; it brings awareness to Special Olympics,” said “We are just really honored to participate in it,” said Katie Treamer of Albany, a volunteer Dolphin coach who said the team had five members participating in the torch run. “It’s a lot of fun and the athletes love doing it.”
By Daymond Steer at the Conway Daily Sun