TALLAHASSEE – The 2018 Law Enforcement Torch Run, which benefits the Special Olympics, was kicked off April 5 by Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, according to a release from Bondi’s office.

“The Law Enforcement Torch Run is always a special event for our athletes, volunteers and staff across the state,” Special Olympics Florida president and chief executive officer Sherry Wheelock told the Florida Record. “This year, we are particularly excited for the Flame of Hope to reach Orlando and kick off, what we believe, will be one of our most memorable Special Olympics Florida State Summer Games.”

Sherry Wheelock
Sherry Wheelock | volunteerflorida.org

Wheelock added that Special Olympics Florida has “a lot of surprises” in store for this year's athletes.

Speaking on the organization’s support from the Florida law enforcement community, Wheelock said, “More than 300 different agencies are involved statewide, a tremendous gesture on behalf of all law enforcement to show their support for our athletes and individuals with disabilities.”

Wheelock said the support from law enforcement inspires everyone to make the games a success.

“All of us at Special Olympics Florida work hard every year to match this act of generosity with as much enthusiasm and dedication to make the event as memorable as it can be,” she said.

Wheelock said the Law Enforcement Torch Run “started with a handful of officers who ran the Flame of Hope across the state in an exhausting, nonstop run.”

That original run was called the SOME Run (Special Olympics Mileage Event).

“More and more wanted to participate in the event, and it gained such momentum that we expanded this one, amazing annual act into what is now one of our largest awareness and fundraising events,” Wheelock said.

Wheelock said 8,500 people were expected to participate in the events.

According to the statement from Bondi’s office, “Local, state and federal law enforcement officers, corrections officers and support staff will carry the Flame of Hope 1,500 miles throughout Florida to bring awareness to Special Olympics, which is marking its 50th anniversary in 2018. Special Olympics Florida is a remarkable organization that provides amazing athletes the opportunity to showcase inspiring strength and skill for the world to see.” 

The Attorney General’s Office said the 2018 Florida Special Olympics are scheduled May 18-May 19 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista. More than 46,000 athletes participate in Special Olympics activities throughout Florida.

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