Capt. Chip Simpson of Delaware State Police Troop 4 ran all over Nebraska for a cause that he has supported for more than 15 years: the Special Olympics.
Simpson was a member of one of nine teams who took part in this years’s Special Olympics Torch Run.
The teams began their journey at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, where the first national Special Olympics games were held in 2006. Teams traveled throughout Iowa and Nebraska in recreational vehicles to spread awareness of Special Olympics as they made their way to the event’s opening ceremonies.
“The entire town would be there to welcome us when we got there,” Simpson said. “They carried signs and had the high school marching bands and cheerleaders packed in front of the town halls.”
From July 10 to July 18, Simpson’s team of five police officers, one team leader, and a Special Olympics athlete ran into about 70 Iowa and Nebraska towns, ending at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln where opening ceremonies were held.
Although temperatures climbed up to 103 degrees on some days, the teams ran about eight miles a day. “We ran two miles at a time into the towns,” Simpson said. “One of the most exciting routes was on a new footbridge over the Missouri River. It was neat to run from Iowa to Nebraska.”
Simpson was chosen to represent Delaware because of his long support of the Special Olympics. “It was by far the most rewarding thing that I’ve done in 30 years of my law enforcement career,” he said. He led the 23 athletes from Delaware into the Opening Ceremonies on the last day.
The Special Olympics Torch Run is by no means the first event Simpson has been a part of to support the games. For more than a decade, he has organized a Polar Bear Plunge team of 30 to 35 members called “Chipper’s Dippers.” The team holds a fundraiser before the annual February plunge, which raises money for the Special Olympics.
Simpson is also volunteer chairman of the board of Law Enforcement for Special Olympics. His job is to find police officers in uniform to hand out medals and interact with the athletes at Special Olympics events and games.
“I felt extremely honored to represent the men and women of Delaware law enforcement at this event,” Simpson said. “It’s been a big part of my career over the past 30 years.”