CRESTVIEW — With a cheer from supporters, the North Okaloosa County leg of the 2018 Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics commenced in the parking lot of the new north Crestview Publix March 28 as more than 50 runners and walkers set off down Industrial Drive.
The 1.5-mile route concluded at the Whitehurst Municipal Building, the home of the Crestview Police Department, as the same enthusiasm and cheers that hailed their departure welcomed the runners about 20 minutes later.
Among the runners were representatives of multiple law enforcement agencies, including the Crestview Police Department host agency, the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, state and county corrections officers, and the U.S. Air Force Military Police.
"We love doing this," CPD Critical Systems Manager Kathy Duke said before the run. "It’s a great charity and we do what we can to support it. It’s a cause we believe in."
While Duke carried the torch for part of the run, Cadet Officer Justin Wallen received the Torch Run flag from another runner and carried it for part of the route. Officers passed the torch and flag to each other, so many had the honor of bearing the run’s symbols.
Law enforcement officers weren’t the only torch and flag bearers. Earlier in the run, Special Olympics athlete Jacob Luttrell, a 2016 graduate of Richbourg E.S.E. School in Crestview, was a torch bearer, flashing a broad grin as he ran.
"I felt good," Jacob said at the run’s conclusion. "The games will be great."
The Special Olympics Florida summer games areMay 18 and 19 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports in Lake Buena Vista.