Governor Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi ran about two-miles with law enforcement officers Tuesday to raise awareness and money for the Special Olympics. As Sascha Cordner reports, they were also joined by two special Olympic athletes, who ran the whole way with them for the cause.
Nineteen-year-old Keith Cline is shaking Governor Rick Scott’s hand, as they’re both gearing up for a 1.7 mile run.
Keith is a veteran Special Olympics Torch Run Athlete, having run 1.4 miles last year with the Governor in a Law Enforcement Torch Run.
“Well, it’s all about representing us and representing Special Olympics.”
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Greeted by hundreds of onlookers, Keith is now leading the pack of law enforcement officers and state officials into the Capitol courtyard. They’ve completed their part of the 29th Annual Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run, and will now pass the torch to the next set of runners.
Keith is joined by 16-year-old Boe Rozar, a fellow Wakulla County Special Olympics Athlete. It’s his first time as a participant, and Boe says he’s happy he completed the run:
“Well, I liked it because it’s my first time running with other people, it’s my first time ever holding the torch, running down the street, and coming to the Capitol with the Torch.”
While both Keith and Boe ran the whole leg, Boe says there was one obstacle in their way.
“I stopped like a little bit, because the hills were killing us.”
And, he wasn’t the only one who welcomed a small break.
“Oh, I loved it, especially when we stopped half way. [laughs] But, it was a good run.”
Captain David Walker with the Leon County Sheriff’s Office is one of about hundred law enforcement officers who ran the whole way from the Publix located at Tharpe on Monroe Street into the Capitol Courtyard. The 54-year-old says he’d do the run again if he could, especially since this issue is near to his heart:
“Back in the old days, it was called special education. Now it’s exceptional education. That was my major. So, I’ve worked with a lot of these kids through the years and it’s real important to me. I love seeing this. I love being part of it. I think it’s worthwhile. To see these kids come out here, and compete, it’s great.”
And, Governor Rick Scott agrees.
“It’s really nice that we have 15-thousand athletes involved in Special Olympics. What a great group of people. It’s fun talking with them when I was sitting down, and I got to take my picture with them. And, it’s great that Publix, and Proctor and Gamble were involved to help a program like this.”
The two companies contributed a total of nearly $2 million to Florida’s Special Olympics.