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Montalvo carries torch in honor of stepfather

Dr. Ray Montalvo of Brookhaven was recently honored with theopportunity to carry the Olympic torch, something few people get toexperience.

Montalvo carried the torch for two-tenths of a mile in LakeCharles, La., on December 9 in honor of his stepfather, CharlesMoore, who passed away earlier this year.

“My stepfather was supposed to do it, but he died in October,”Montalvo said. “When my mom, Cuqui Moore, called to tell them(Olympic officials), they told her she could find someone else, soshe asked me.”

Montalvo was quite honored to run in the place of Moore, who wasa long-time physician and priest in New Orleans. He worked atOschner’s Medical Center for 45 years.

“It was a great experience,” Montalvo commented. “They playedthe Olympic music and everyone came out and watched as we camethrough at 5 a.m.”

When he arrived in Lake Charles, Montalvo was given a designatedOlympic wind suit to wear, and his two support runners, who werealso nominated by local residents, also received wind suits.

He carried the official Olympic torch, which holds the flamethat has already been carried through a number of states en routeto its final destination, Salt Lake City for the Winter Olympics2002, which begin in March.

“The flame was taken from the train to the torch and then eachrunner passes it on to the next,” Montalvo explained.

The Olympic flame will be transported across the United Statesin a variety of ways, Montalvo added, mentioning the use of train,dog sledders in Alaska and the more common runners.

Camera crews follow the flame along its route, creating ahistory of the trip. Montalvo said the crews rode in a flatbedtruck just a few feet in front of him.