Special Olympics put the spotlight on people overcoming disabilities, but Wednesday TMs focus was on the people represented by former Highway Patrol Commander Ralph Biele, Missouri TMs law enforcement.
"It was Colonel Biele who fired the starter pistol for MPCA involvement, Missouri Police Chiefs Association John Copeland said.
Special Olympics Missouri will hold its 2010 summer games next week in Springfield.
Each year, the event is marked with a special cross-state torch run, sponsored by the Missouri Police Chiefs Association. Wednesday, the officers retraced the original torch run from Columbia to Jefferson City.
For the past 25 years, the Missouri Police Chiefs Association and cops across Missouri have made Special Olympics a cause to celebrate, not only with the Torch Run, but with a quarter century of fund raising.
Missouri Law enforcement has given $13,155, 205 to the Special Olympics of Missouri
But what impresses Biele is what the Special Olympics has given back.
"When they look up or shake your hand or salute you, and tell you how thankful they are, what a warm feeling this is, Biele said. And in our business, every day was not warm feelings. We didn't deal with people who gave us warm feelings.
Each year, 15,000 special athletes participate in the Missouri games, which are made possible with its volunteer commitment, not its tax dollars.
The spotlight comes back to the officers, who were dress Wednesday in the original logo used in 1985, but wrapped in a blanket of gratitude from those who make these Olympics Special.
"Thank you for believing in people no matter how God made us, Special Olympian Kristina O'Neal said. And thank you for being our heroes. God bless you all.