By NEAL WHITE
Daily Light Editor
FORT WORTH -- Wiping the
sleep from his eyes, Justin fumbled for his shoes, slipping them on his
feet without looking.
"You awake yet?" his father Paul
"I'm ready," he replied.
Leaving Waxahachie in the pre-dawn hours
Wednesday morning, the O'Rears embarked on a once in a lifetime opportunity
to carry the Olympic flame as it made its way through the Metroplex --
part of the flame's 65-day journey through 46 states and 125 cities prior
to reaching Olympic Stadium in Salt Lake City Feb. 8 for the Winter Games.
Paul and Justin were asked to carry the
torch in honor of Ashley, who passed away Nov. 24 after a four-year battle
Ashley was selected as one of 3,505 torchbearers
to carry the flame for inspiring others and overcoming adversity.
"This is such a huge honor," Paul
said on the drive to Fort Worth, where he and Justin would carry the torch
during the first leg of its journey through the Metroplex.
"I'm still in awe of being able to
do this -- to actually carry the Olympic flame. But I'm also honored to
do this for Ashley. She was really excited about this and it meant a lot
to her. Justin and I are both running for her."
Prior to arriving at the staging area at
Texas Christian University, Paul, Susan and Justin shared their feelings
about the day ahead.
They had two special requests, but had no
idea if the Olympic Torch Relay Committee would allow them.