Jeff Cook, a patrol supervisor with the O’Fallon Police Dept., was selected as Missouri’s representative for the 2015 Special Olympics World Games Law Enforcement Torch Run Final Leg. Cook will be providing updates on his adventures in Los Angeles as part of the Final Leg.
Day 1 – I traveled to Los Angeles and was greeted by an LAPD officer at my plane and escorted to baggage claim where he waited until I got my luggage and handed me off to the reception crew. A quick shuttle took us to the Westin where my team leader Jimmy Johnson was waiting for me. I was issued my Final Leg Team gear and checked into the room. I’ve seen several familiar faces and look forward to meeting the rest of my team as they arrive. I got my first run in while in California, watching the airplanes land next to the hotel from the treadmill. We had dinner with part of my team and Claire, Allen, Randy and Kristi from another team. A team meeting later brought us all together for the first time where we got our marching orders.
Day 2 – Up early for a shower, breakfast and final packing of uniforms. We loaded the bus after a team picture and headed north for Sacramento. We stopped for a lunch at an LA County Detention Center and work camp. A light lunch and back on the road. This bus is going to be our home for the next two weeks so we all had to find and share our own space. We had a backpack and our “bum bag,” as the Aussie’s call it — all the rest of the gear is stowed underneath. The scenery was great for the drive to Raley Field in Sacramento, where the River Cats play at their Minor League Baseball stadium. We had nice dinner on the patio area and I had a chance to catch up with two familiar faces.
I met Charalampos Stylianiou from Cypress in Orlando back in 2013. We talked for a couple of hours about our families, our countries and Torch Run. I haven’t seen him since that trip and he spotted me today before I saw him and he approached me with a big smile and said, “Hello Jeff, it’s so good to see you.” A quick handshake and hug and it was like we spoke last week. We didn’t get a picture today, but hopefully will on Tuesday when our groups meet back up. While having lunch I spotted a face I knew from New Orleans. Azeem Ali from Trinidad-Tobago was here representing his country in their first Final Leg. They are a brand new program that SO Missouri and SO Oklahoma are sponsoring and mentoring into the LETR world. We had a good lunch and caught up on their program.