By 1st Lt. M. Austin Giles, 716th MP BN UPARJune 11, 2019
FRANKFORT, Kentucky -- Over 60 Soldiers from the 716th Military Police Battalion, 101st Sustainment Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), traveled to Frankfort, Kentucky, in June, to carry the Olympic Torch marking the start of the 2019 Special Olympics.
Civilian law enforcement officers from various local and state agencies in Kentucky participated in the event alongside the 716th MP Soldiers. For years, the 716th MP Bn. has partnered with law enforcement to run the torch into the opening ceremony for the Special Olympics.
"It is a really incredible experience to be out here with other law enforcement officers doing something positive" says Sgt. 1st Class Salvador Montenegro, Detachment Sergeant for the 716th MP Bn. Headquarters.
Pvt. 1st Class Kamarin Poole, a driver from the 716th MP Bn. added, "This is not something you get to do every day." "I really love all the outreach opportunities we get in this battalion, you really do get to feel like you're doing something positive when you show up to work and get to empower athletes like everyone at the Special Olympics."
Surrounded by state troopers, government officials and sheriff's deputies, Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rick Sanders made remarks during the opening speech before the run.
"They [these athletes] exemplify hope and there are no limits," Sanders said. "I think that's why it's important that we follow their example."
After the speech, Sanders handed off the torch to law enforcement officers who joined the 716th MPs on a run from the Capitol Building through downtown Frankfort with the torch in hand.
Over 1400 athletes competed in different sports during this year's Special Olympics.
According to 2nd Lt. Patrick Campion, a platoon leader with 194th MP Co., 716th MP Bn., he was inspired by the energy every athlete brought to the event.
"There is so much fun and excitement at an event like this and I'm glad I could participate, Campion said."
Campion has a history of volunteering in the community on his own time and had participated in the opening ceremonies for the 2013 Special Olympics in Howard County, Maryland.
"I'm grateful for another chance to be part of events like this," Campion added.
Throughout the year, the 716th MP Bn. alongside local civilian law enforcement agencies have supported strategic outreach events to create positive relationships between the public, law enforcement and the military.