BOZEMAN — On Thursday afternoon, Special Olympics Montana and local law enforcement from Bozeman ran down Main Street kicking off the 2021 Summer Games with their famous torch run.
“It’s really nice to do the torch run again," said Bozeman junior athlete Jamie Taylor. "Last year it was rough with COVID. It was great going back into it again.”
Business owners, citizens and many students from Bozeman High came to show their support.
“It was incredible to see how much support there was," said Bozeman chief of police Jim Veltkamp. "I honestly had no idea there was going to be that many citizens, business owners and students out on the sidewalk. Coming past and seeing everybody supporting the athletes, having their signs out, that made everything extra special.”
After the games were virtual last year, for everyone involved it was nice to see some part of the games return to normal, even though they are virtual again this year.
“Such a bummer they missed out last year, but they’re all excited to get out here and do their events again," said Gallatin County sheriff Dan Springer. "I know it’s going to be a little different than in the past still, but they’re getting a chance to compete and that’s excellent.”
The smiles on the athletes and local law enforcement were hard to miss. They’re happy to be back and working together.
“Times like the last year we forget how special some of these kind events are until we can’t have them," Veltkamp said. "It’s nice to be out in the nice weather showing the cooperation between Special Olympics and law enforcement and enjoying the company of the athletes.”
With the strong history between local law enforcement and the Special Olympics, there are many things local law enforcement and the athletes can learn from each other.
“We certainly learn a lot from the athletes and I hope they learn a lot from us in regards to teamwork and overcoming obstacles, doing your best, putting forth your best effort and just having a good time,” said Veltkamp.