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Knoxville Police Officer Selected to Represent Special Olympics Tennessee in Law Enforcement Torch Run Final Leg in Berlin for 2023 World Games

Officer Dean Ray has served with the Knoxville Police Department for over 25 years
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Special Olympics Tennessee and Law Enforcement Torch Run are proud to announce that 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. Ray will be the only representative from Tennessee and one of only 125 law enforcement officers worldwide to be a part of the Final Leg Team.

Ray has been with the Knoxville Police Department for over 25 years. He has spent most of his time with the Patrol Division where he was a K-9 handler for 10 years. Ray 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.”

“Dean’s commitment to our Law Enforcement Torch Run program, and Special Olympics in general, made him an easy choice to represent Tennessee in the Final Leg Torch Run,” said Jennifer McAfee, Law Enforcement Torch Run Director for Special Olympics Tennessee. “I am excited for Dean as he gets to be a part of such an amazing event.”

This 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 comprise the Torch Run Final Leg Team. Each year in Tennessee, law enforcement officials carry the Flame of Hope across the state culminating with the Torch Run Final Leg, and the lighting of the cauldron to officially open the Special Olympics State Summer Games in Nashville.

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. Law Enforcement officials and Special Olympics athletes, unified as a part of the Final Leg Team, will serve as true Guardians of the Flame™ and promote the powerful messages of inclusion, acceptance, and ability, every step of our Final Leg journey to promote the 2023 World Summer Games.

Learn more about Special Olympics World Games here. Learn more about the Law Enforcement Torch Run Final Leg here.