Dougherty County runs the Special Olympics torch across town

Billy Griner Jr. leads the Law Enforcement Torch Run as they jog down Dawson road

Local law enforcement laced up their running shoes this afternoon for the annual Law Enforcement Torch Run, an event known across the world for its contribution to the Special Olympics.

"There's two real goals here. One is to raise money for Special Olympics Georgia to help send athletes to the games and the other is to raise awareness to Special Olympics so that people understand what these athletes are about and what their goals are," said Colonel John Ostrander.

It seems the officers hit their goals. Last week's "Cops on Doughnut Shops" fundraiser raised over $15,000 to send the athletes to next week's summer games in Atlanta.

"Every single penny added up and we're just so grateful for everyone's support," said Kristin Caso of the Albany Recreation and Parks Department.

Despite last week's success, the Law Enforcement Torch Run remains the largest fundraiser for Special Olympics Georgia, raising $695,000 for last year's games, a number they hope to top with this year's goal of raising $750,000 state-wide to continue sending the athletes to future games.

"I appreciate all of the runners, I appreciate everybody. I can't do it by myself, we've got to have everybody's help to get us to Atlanta," said Billy Griner Jr.

Griner carried the "Flame of Hope" from the judicial building all the way to Publix, a nearly five-mile run.

"It's the highlight of my day, every year, when Ii get to do it," said a visibly moved Griner.

He hopes to add another gold medal to his already impressive collection next week and make everyone in the state of Georgia proud.

If you haven TMt had a chance to get involved, the Dougherty County Sheriff TMs Department will be collecting donations for this year TMs games until the first week of July.