PLATTSBURGH Emergency vehicle lights were flashing, traffic was pulling over and a Department of Homeland Security helicopter flew over the Korean Veterans Memorial Bridge in Rouses Point early Monday morning.
Several residents came out to see what was going on, thinking it was some sort of major arrest or security threat, but it was nothing of the sort.
It was the official start of the 2007 Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics, which involves several branches of law enforcement in a statewide effort to raise money and awareness for the cause.
At approximately 8:10 a.m. several runners took off carrying the torch. They headed down Lake Street to their first stop in front of the Anchorage Motor Inn where the Rouses Point Elementary K-Kids, their advisors and principal Diane Thompson were there to hand them water and cheer them on.
Next they headed towards City Hall in Plattsburgh where they received a warm welcome from the New York Area 26 Special Olympics committee, Mayor Donald Kasprzak, The Plattsburgh Police Pipes and Drums, Clinton County Sheriff David Favro, District Attorney Andrew Wiley and many others who turned out in support of the runners.
Trooper Suzanne Ewing carried the flaming torch up the steps handing it to Mayor Kasprzak. Following a few cheers, he handed it on to Trooper Bernie Bullis, who had a few words to share with the Special Olympics gang.
Were doing this for you, he said, waving the torch.
You go on to the Olympics and make us proud!
Following a short ceremony and refreshments, the team was scheduled to head out to finish the rest of the days 42-mile run. The Keeseville Fire Department was the next stop, where they were hoping to arrive by 5 p.m.
On the second day a short ceremony was planned at the Essex County Government Center in Elizabethtown at 9 a.m., after which the torch would be carried through the Schroon Lake area on the way to the Warren County line.
The Special Olympics opening ceremonies are slated for June 14 in Albany.