KNOXVILLE, Tenn — Knoxville police officer Dean Ray has been selected to participate in the Law Enforcement Torch Run Final Leg for Special Olympics at the Special Olympics 2023 World Games in Berlin next June, according to a press release.
Special Olympics Tennessee officials said that Ray has been with KPD for over 25 years and spent most of his time with the Patrol Division where he was a K9 handler. He has participated in the Law Enforcement Torch Run for the past five years and became involved with Special Olympics Tennessee when his daughter Madison became an athlete eight years ago.
"I'm in shock, it's a great honor to be selected for the World Games Torch Run Final Leg and I'm looking forward to this great opportunity," said Ray. "To promote inclusion and provide a chance for these athletes to compete in real sports as part of an actual team... I can't put a price on the smile on an athlete's face during Special Olympic events, especially seeing my daughter participate like everyone else."
The torch run event is called the Final Leg because it represents the culmination of Torch Run events that have occurred previously throughout the world.
The Torch Run Final Leg is not only a salute to the athletes from around the world who will compete in the Special Olympics World Summer Games but also an honor for the participating law enforcement officers and Special Olympics athletes who are part of the Torch Run Final Leg Team.
As an important part of each World Games, the Law Enforcement Torch Run Final Leg for Special Olympics will heighten awareness and take the message of Special Olympics to all 16 states in Germany.