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Lawton Police Department officers escort a "Flame of Jope" through east Lawton on Monday.

Special Olympic torch comes to town

Lawton Police Department Officers escorted one "Flame of Hope" through east Lawton Monday, and two officers have pledged to take the torch all the way to Stillwater this week for the opening ceremony of the Oklahoma Special Olympics.

For Detective Tonya Criger, the words of encouragement from passers-by or Special Olympics supporters, like the ones shouted from school buses along the officers' route Monday afternoon, are necessary to keep runners going during the Law Enforcement Torch Run  an annual event during which agencies carry torches from all corners of the state to the opening ceremony of the statewide Special Olympics  but the smiles on the faces of participants at the event make for "a feeling you can't describe."

Criger, who ran with the torch into Lawton Monday morning, is one of nearly a dozen Lawton officers who ran the torch from the department to MacArthur High School, 4400 E. Gore, Monday afternoon, and she is one of two who will be carrying the flame all the way to Stillwater in coming days. Criger, recently named Volunteer of the Year by the Oklahoma Special Olympics Committee for six years of service, said after last year's run that she wanted to at least run through all nine counties in the district. Now, she and Officer Melaine Powers have vowed to complete the entire 322.87 mile route  from Hollis to Stillwater.

The Lawton Constitution

102 SW 3rd, Lawton, OK 73501
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