A group of Temple Police officers dressed in shorts and T-shirts ran down 31st Street Tuesday, surrounded by bicycle and uniformed officers.

Officers ran with a purpose — carrying the Flame of Hope torch in advance of local Special Olympic games.

Each year, the Temple Police Department serves as “Guardians of the Flame” as officers participate in the annual Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run.

The event started Tuesday morning at Wildcat Stadium at Temple High School.

Temple Police Officer Martina Malone carried the torch at the stadium while Lt. Brad Hunt pushed the wheelchair of Carla Pecheo, a Temple High junior.

“For me, it’s just a really rewarding way to extend our commitment to service into an area much appreciated by those we are serving,” Hunt said. “We spend some time with them before we run and it is great to joke around with them and see them laugh and smile.

“The reward is in bringing them some joy for a little while.”

The group of officers ran south from the high school down 31st Street to just past Temple Mall.

The torch run is a public awareness tool and grassroots fundraiser for Special Olympics.

“My mom was one of the founders of the Challenger Division for Little League Baseball in 1989, and that’s where I first got this notion of finding true fulfillment in service to others,” Hunt said. “My small role in support of Special Olympics is one way I try to make a difference in the community and carry on a tradition my mother helped instill in me.”