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Two locals to carry Olympic torch
Olympic-torchWEB
Christine David and Chris Hennessee are scheduled to carry the Olympic torch July 13 in Brazil. They will carry the torch in a city called Joinville, about 12 hours south of Rio.

A few kind words can go a long way.
In the case of Bridgestone employees Chris Hennessee and Christine David, a few kind words are taking them quite a long way -- 4,900 miles to Brazil where they will be carrying the Olympic torch next month.
“I can’t believe the attention this has brought,” said Hennessee, who has already done an interview with Motlow College, with several more interviews on the way. “I ran into a guy the other day in a store and he came up to me and asked if I was Chris Hennessee. When I told him I was, he said, ‘You make us proud carrying that Olympic flame.’ I’m not used to that.”
The opportunity to carry the Olympic torch arose because Bridgestone is a worldwide Olympic partner and therefore earned a small number of torchbearer spots. To fill the spots, Bridgestone had open nominations within the company basing the selections on mentorship and coaching.
David wrote a one-page letter about Hennessee and how he encouraged her to get a job at Bridgestone four years ago, then helped her develop strong working relationships within the plant.
“I wasn’t happy what I was doing,” said David. “He recommended me for Bridgestone then set me on a path to advance once I got here. He’s definitely a leader.”
When David wrote the letter, she thought only Hennessee would get to carry the Olympic torch if her nomination was selected. However, she was surprised to learn she gets to carry the torch too.
The Olympic torch ceremony began in Greece back in April. The torch arrived in Brazil in early May and more than 12,000 people will get to carry it before the flame reaches its final destination in Rio de Janeiro, the site of the 2016 Olympic Games.
Hennessee and David will get to carry the torch July 13 in the city of Joinville, a town located along Brazil’s coast with around 560,000 people. Joinville is about a 12-hour drive from Rio. Because they are in a city, their legs of the torch relay will only be about 200 yards each, not three or four miles like some people running in the country.
“I just want to make sure I don’t fall with it,” said Hennessee. “I might not have a job when I come back.”
Added David, “I think we’ll be able to handle that distance.”
Bridgestone Americas communications manager Keith Crawley said, “It’s not really a run. It’s more like a slow jog with plenty of pictures.”
While the two will get to participate in the torch relay, they won’t get to see the actual Olympics. They will be out of Brazil long before the Olympics begin Aug. 5.
The experience has two additional perks. They will be decked out in official Rio 2016 Olympic shirts and shorts. And they will each get to keep the Olympic torch they carry.
David said she’s undecided about what she’ll do with her torch, but Hennessee said he’s going to donate his to Bridgestone to put on display in the lobby.
“How many people can say they’ve carried the Olympic torch?” said Hennessee. “None of this would have happened to me if not for Bridgestone so I think it’s only right to donate it back to the company, although I might have a little torch party when I get back.”
Bridgestone community outreach coordinator Shannon Gulick pointed out the lobby will make a great spot because representatives from all over the world tour the Warren County facility and an Olympic torch will make a memorable impression.
As for local residents who might want to see Hennessee and David carrying the Olympic torch, it’s not known what coverage will be available.
“My dad asked me if this is going to be on ESPN,” said Hennessee. “I think there will be plenty of pictures and you might be able to catch a clip on YouTube.”
While Bridgestone is a worldwide Olympic partner, the company is not an official torch relay sponsor. Those three companies are Coca-Cola, Nissan, and Bradesco, a Brazilian bank.