Special Olympics North Carolina is proud to announce that Deputy Daniel Blagg of the Haywood County Sheriff’s Office in Waynesville, NC, has been selected as North Carolina’s only law enforcement official to the Final Leg team that will run the “Flame of Hope” throughout Austria in March 2017 prior to the start of the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria.
One hundred-twenty three Final Leg runners from around the world were selected to represent their local Torch Run and Special Olympics Programs. The Final Leg team will begin in Bregenz, Austria and embark on two different routes, running the Flame of Hope throughout 45 communities across Austria while honoring the spirit of the Special Olympics global movement and delivering a message of hope to communities where people with intellectual disabilities continue to fight for acceptance and inclusion. The final destination for the “Flame of Hope” is the Opening Ceremonies of the Special Olympics World Winter Games in Schladming (Stadium Planai) on Saturday, March 18th.
Deputy Blagg, a six-year veteran with Haywood County Sheriff’s Office has served as the agency’s Torch Run coordinator for the past four years. He was honored with the 2016 NC Law Enforcement Torch Run Guardian of the Flame award for his ingenuity, motivation, commitment and dedication to the Torch Run. The annual Haywood County Sheriff’s Office “Cops on Top” fundraiser has become the state’s highest grossing “Cops on Top” fundraiser under Deputy Blagg’s leadership and direction. He is also a member of the Special Emergency Response Team, Honor Guard and participates in several other community outreach programs.
“I’m excited and honored to represent my agency and my state in spreading the Special Olympics mission of inclusion for everyone around the world,” said Deputy Blagg. “I think it’s important that everyone see Special Olympics is about empowering people with intellectual disabilities both on and off the field of play.”
The Law Enforcement Torch Run® Final Leg for the 2017 World Winter Games in Austria will take place March 9 – 18. A team of 133 members – which includes 88 law enforcement officer runners and 10 Special Olympics athletes will serve as Guardians of the Flame as they run the Flame of Hope throughout Austria. Law Enforcement runners from around the world are selected to represent their Torch Run and Special Olympics Programs in the Final Leg. The Special Olympics athletes were selected to be a part of the Final Leg Team based on nominations received from around the world.
“For more than 30 years, the Law Enforcement Torch Run has been an integral part of the Special Olympics Movement,” said Hermann Kroell, President of Special Olympics World Winter Games 2017. “We look forward to seeing Austrians cheering on the Final Leg Team as they bring the World Games message of acceptance and inclusion throughout the country.”
The Law Enforcement Torch Run® for Special Olympics is Special Olympics’ largest grass-roots fundraiser and public awareness campaign. More than 90,000 law enforcement members in all 50 U.S. States, 12 Canadian provinces/territories, and 44 other countries contribute to LETR efforts annually as Guardians of the Flame®, ensuring the delivery of the Special Olympics Flame of Hope to the Opening Ceremonies of local Special Olympics competitions, state/provincial Games, and national/regional Games.
For more information on the Final Leg team and the members participating, please visit www.letr-finalleg.org