Dunwoody Police Chief Billy Grogan Korea

Billy Grogan didn’t see one of his home-state competitors until almost the end of his Special Olympics trip. His job was to help carry the torch.

Earlier this year, Grogan, who usually works as Dunwoody’s police chief, spent about 10 days as part of a team carrying the torch across parts of South Korea for the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games.

“It was very interesting,” said Grogan, at center back in the photo at left behind a group of Korean children. “It was very nice country. People were very friendly.”

He and other law enforcement officers carried the torch from city to city in anticipation of the games.”We’d run into a town and have a ceremony there. Local politicians would speak, we’d exchange gifts, and usually there was a Korean dance with drums,” he said.

When they arrived at the stadium in PyeongChang, where the competitions were to be held, Grogan and his teammates waited in a tunnel for their cue to go inside. Suddenly, the door opened and skier Marnie Hornsby came out.

“It was very hot inside the building,” he said, “and I saw this athlete come out, her face really red. I recognized the athlete. She was one of our Georgians.”

Joe Earle

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.