More than six months ago, Melinda Marklein sat down to write a letter of recommendation for her husband, Richard. The 100-words-or-less essay listed the qualities of Richard as a father and a husband: someone who is always an \"all-around good person.\"

About a month later, she was informed her letter had done the trick - Richard was selected as one of 36 runners to carry the Olympic flame as it crossed through Vermont.

Marklein, 46, was the manager of Kimberly-Clark in Ryegate, which closed its doors Dec. 21. Though he describes himself as one who runs regularly, he was hesitant to believe he had actually been chosen to carry the torch.

The official list was to have been released in September, but due to the terrorists\' activities, the list didn\'t come out until October. Still, the St. Johnsbury resident refused to tell anyone about it until he finally received the official running suit in November.

On Saturday, the runners who were to carry the lighted torch met in Burlington, and were instructed on what to expect. Marklein\'s family gathered on St. Paul Street to watch Richard as he ran.

There was a little confusion over where he would be starting his short run, and the family watched as he ended his run, passing the famous flame onto Dinah Larsen of Essex Junction.

It was all over in just a few minutes, barely time for photos. And unfortunately, the photos that were taken may be lost forever.

Shortly after the festivities ended, a few of the runners and their families went to a Burlington restaurant for lunch. Melinda Marklein had carried her camera into the restaurant to get a few more photos of their new friends. When everyone left, she forgot to remove the camera from the back of her chair.

She called the restaurant as soon as she realized she had forgotten it, but employees hadn\'t recovered it as of Saturday evening.

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