McPherson’s Dennis Shaw and Ronn Peters were among those who participated in the Unified Relay as the Special Olympics torch recently made its pass through Kansas.
The relay started on May 26 on the East Coast and will make it to Los Angeles on July 10.
The World Summer Games will start in Los Angles on July 25, where 7,000 athletes are expected to take part and 177 countries will be represented. Nearly a half-million spectators are expected as there are 25 Olympic-style events. The opening ceremonies will be carried on the 25th on ESPN.
The Special Olympics Unified Relay Across America, presented by Bank of America, is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for America to unify to build communities of respect and inclusion. Over the course of 46 days, in a hand-to-hand exchange, people throughout the nation will carry the Special Olympics Flame of Hope across the country and deliver it to Los Angeles for the Special Olympics World Games. The Unified Relay will be three simultaneous routes hitting all 50 states and will be led by celebrity and Special Olympics athlete co-captains and supported by law enforcement officers
Shaw, McPherson Retired Police Chief now working with Central Christian College’s Criminal Justice Program, formed a team to support the Special Olympics event. They decided to form a bicycle group and carry the torch into Wichita on June 23. Peters, McPherson resident, longtime bike enthusiast and local Realtor, joined the team along with Deputy Erin Wannow of the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office and Jack Leon who was one of the original runners in the very first Law Enforcement Torch Run in 1981 in Wichita. Shaw serves on the executive council for the Kansas Special Olympics and is the past State Director.
They formed a team called Kansas Firekeepers to help raise money for the event. Kansas is well represented in Los Angeles.
• John Lair was named 2014 SONA Coach of the Year. John is a powerlifting couch in Pittsburg.
• Casey Hostetler of the Campus Colts will compete in tennis.
• Michael Bottom of Hutch Reno County Hawks will compete in tennis.
• Chevi Peters, New Hope Bulldogs, will compete in powerlifting.
• Cody Pierce, from New Hope of Pittsburg, will be one of 10 U.S. athletes running in the final leg along with Det. Kristi Powell of the Topeka Police Department.
As it stands now the team of Dennis, Ronn, Jack and Erin are in second place for fundraising in Kansas. If you would like to support the team the link is here:
The team carried the torch on the bikes from south of the airport on Tyler to near Exploration Place. The torch was part of a ceremony at Lawrence Dumont Stadium that night.
A support team, including officers from Los Angeles, was on hand as the torch travels through the United States.