Local Olympians honored when vintage Olympic torch is found

Local Olympians honored when vintage Olympic torch is found

BEDFORD TOWNSHIP, MI (WTOL) - The 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea officially starts Friday with the Flag Ceremony. But in Bedford Township, residents were celebrating early.

"We come across this Olympic Torch and plaque and we thought Whoa wouldn't it be really cool to get this thing refurbished and working,'" said Paul Pirrone, Bedford Township Supervisor.

And, they did.

The vintage 1976 Olympic Torch carried through the area now hangs for Bedford Township Residents to see and honor their local Olympians and heroes.

"For about every 500,000 citizens there's one Olympian," said Fred Lowe, three-time Weightlifting Olympian for Team USA."So, anybody that's been on an Olympic team, we all have something very special in common."

Lowe competed in weightlifting in three different Olympic Games in 1968, 1972 and 1976.

Shane Heams from Bedford, had a dream of pitching for his childhood team the Detroit Tigers, but he put that dream on hold.

"I had the option to either get called up to the Tigers or play for Team USA," Heams said. "So, I chose to take the team USA Route."

It paid off. Heams played for the Gold Medal winning Team USA Baseball team in the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Both Heams and Lowe were shocked when the township supervisor called with this surprise.

"It has an American Flag, and we thought with it we could kind of find our hometown heroes," Pirrone said.

With the Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, Heams isn't just a hometown hero but a celebrity at work.

"I do work for a Korean Company Mobis North America and the Winter Olympics are in Korea this year," Heams said. "They look at me different because not a lot of Koreans have gold medals."

And, not many Americans do either. The community said they'll be watching the opening ceremonies tomorrow and have a unique remembrance at the government center.

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