“Everybody stretch, get some water and make sure you’re wearing sunscreen.”

 “Everybody stretch, get some water and make sure you’re wearing sunscreen.”
This message was repeated numerous times before the grueling 42-mile run from Leesville to Alexandria began May 22 for 60 Soldiers with the 519th Military Police Battalion, 1st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade.
The group made the journey in support of the annual Louisiana Law Enforcement Torch Run, an event that includes runners from several state law enforcement agencies. The officers each take a leg of the trip to help carry the “Flame of Hope” Special Olympics Torch to Baton Rouge for the opening ceremonies, which commence Friday.
The soldiers gathered at the First United Pentecostal Church in Leesville and marched behind a contingent of Special Olympians, who were carrying the torch, to the Department of Motor Vehicles. Once there, the torch was passed to the soldiers to be carried as they ran along La. 8 toward Alexandria.
Along the way, other law enforcement runners will pick up the torch in relay fashion until it reaches Alexandria, where it will eventually be passed again to make the final leg of the journey to Baton Rouge for the games.
“We have always supported the Torch Run,” said Lt. Col. Glenn Schmick, 519th MP commander. “It is a law enforcement tradition within the state, and our participation not only shows the unity between military and civilian law enforcement, but also, and more importantly, our support of the Special Olympics and all the great work that they do.”
Tom Scott, assistant Torch Run coordinator for Vernon Parish, was especially pleased to see the 519th at this event, as he is an alumnus of the unit.
“I’m retired from the 519th, and I have been involved in the Torch Run since 1990,” Scott said. “I’ve done it every year, and there are a lot of folks here today that have been involved since the 1990s. But having the MPs here is a blessing. It is a good show of mutual support between Fort Polk and Leesville.”
Leesville and other local police cruisers, along with the Vernon Parish Sheriffs Office, provided traffic security for the runners and members of the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association rode along for moral support.