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BRPD Cpl. Betty Smothers honored at Memorial Day track meet

4 weeks 5 hours 23 minutes ago Saturday, May 25 2024 May 25, 2024 May 25, 2024 8:21 PM May 25, 2024 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - For nearly 50 years, the KY Track Club has been hosting their biggest meet of the year on Memorial Day weekend.

Each year, athletes from six to 19 come to run, jump and throw at the Betty Smothers Relays, but it wasn't always called that.

The relay is named after fallen Baton Rouge Police Corporal Betty Dunn Smothers, who was killed while on duty in 1993. Smothers was a respected member of the Baton Rouge police force and the community, but it was what she did while off duty that makes the meet so special.

Smothers was a coach for the KY Track Club. Her son Warrick Dunn was a runner on the team and went on to have a successful football career, winning a national title in 1993 with Florida State and being a three-time Pro-Bowler in the NFL.

Each Memorial Day weekend, you can find Dunn back in Baton Rouge at the relays in memory of his mom.

"The legacy, the commitment, the sacrifice that my mom made as a police officer, but also helping raise her kids. It says a lot that people come out and support," Dunn said.

The KY Track Club prides itself on helping children in East Baton Rouge and surrounding parishes. They focus on the mentorship and development of the area's youth by teaching morals, family values, education and excellence in track and field.

Dr. Charles Davis Junior, the KY Track Club Vice President, says the Memorial Day event has grown every year and become a staple for many in the Baton Rouge community. East Baton Rouge Mayor-President candidate Ted James and his family have fond memories of the KY Track Club, saying it brings the community together like few things can.

"This is Baton Rouge at its best," James smiled. "Investing in our young people, having them cheer our young people on, we need more of this every day. Not just the physical strength and endurance that it takes, but just the pride of community that you see here is motivating even for me as a 42 year old."

For the last two years, the event has been held at Southern's A.W. Mumford Stadium. The site of the event is extra special for Dunn since his mom ran track at Southern in college.

"It means the world," Dunn exclaims. "This is home. I mean coming back, being on Southern's campus. Just the impact Southern had on my life because I trained on this track."

While remembering his mom and all she did for Baton Rouge, Dunn smiled as he was joined by members of his family, which he says, is the most important value that this club can teach. 

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