hank you Margaret [Larsen, President/CEO, Special Olympics Texas] for that introduction and for everything you do in this noble cause.
For 25 years now, law enforcement officials from across this great state have participated in this Torch Run, raising funds and awareness for the Special Olympics of Texas.
We are celebrating a quarter-century of commitment by our law enforcement community, a full generation of Texas officers of all ranks, from sheriff's departments, police departments, correctional facilities and more, who have stepped forward, year after year, stride after stride, to support the Special Olympics here in the Lone Star State.
These are men and women who work long stressful hours in dangerous conditions, defending us from those who would do us harm.
Today, they're here with us again, dedicating their precious time to a cause they believe in.
Their efforts have helped make the Texas Torch Run one of the largest and most successful events of its kind anywhere in the world, bringing in hundreds of thousands of dollars, and spreading the word about the amazing accomplishments of our Special Olympians.
That's a milestone worth noting, and a cause worth celebrating.
The Special Olympics enrich the lives of more than 36,000 Texans with the opportunity to enjoy the thrill of competition in a venue where every participant is a champion.
I'm a big believer in competition on all levels because it not only pushes us to be our best, it reveals essential things about our character.
Competition strengthens our confidence in ourselves and our abilities and encourages us to take our game to the next level.
There are some tough competitors in the Special Olympics who put a lot of time and effort into their preparation.
Win or lose, they inspire us all, particularly at a time when young people have so many reasons to stay planted in front of the TV instead of getting outside and mixing it up a little.
Competition is good for your body, your mind and your soul.
I congratulate all of our Special Olympians and celebrate a 5,000-participant increase from last year.
I also thank our Torch Runners for 25 years of dedication and excellence.
Know that you all represent the very best of Texas.
Thank you, may God bless you, and, through you, may He continue to bless the great state of Texas.
Let's go light that torch.