Just like Muhammad Ali | VailDaily.com

Just like Muhammad Ali

Brooke Bates
Shane Macomber/Vail DailyLarry Vasquez carries the Special Olympics torch that will be passed off to Eric Bell, behind him as part of the relay that will take the torch from Utah to Greeley, where the competition takes place.

AVON ” Eric Bell ran in the footsteps of his hero on Wednesday.

“If you think about it, it’s really an honor to run the torch. It’s like when Muhammad Ali got to do it,” he said.

Escorted by a fleet of local police, firefighters and the Department of Transportation, Bell, along with Larry Vasquez, participated in the Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run, making it the third run for both of them.

With the help of local law enforcement, Bell and Vasquez represented Avon in the torch’s trek across the state. The “Flame of Hope” arrived in Avon after passing through Eagle. Bell and Vasquez carried it from the Christy Lodge along I-70 to Post Boulevard. After it left their hands it headed to Vail.

The relay across the state, which began May 1, is an effort to raise both money and support for the Special Olympics. Last year the event raised more than $300,000 for 7,800 Colorado athletes with developmental disabilities.

“We’re part of a long line of people helping it get to where it needs to go,” Bell said.

The torch’s destination is the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, where the Special Olympics Summer Games will begin on June 3. Bell and Vasquez will both compete in biking events, joining more than 1,100 other athletes in the statewide competition.

“We see a lot of negative as officers,” Avon Police Chief Brian Kozak said. “It’s great to see something positive and do something special for the community.”

Brooke Bates can be reached at vdeditintern@vaildaily.com

Vail, Colorado

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