Sgt. Robert Taylor from Holmes Correctional Institution carries the torch through Bonifay during the Special Olympics Torch Run. [DIANE M. MOORE | THE NEWS AND ADVERTISER]

The 40th annual Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics made its way through Holmes and Washington Counties recently.

There were several agencies represented including Holmes Correctional Institution, Northwest Florida Reception Center, Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Chipley Police Department, Florida Department of Corrections Probation and Parole and members of Florida Panhandle Technical College’s Criminal Justice class.

Washington County School Resource Officer Tito Jones talks with WAVE School Special Olympian Cody Baker after the Torch Run was over. [DIANE M. MOORE | THE NEWS AND ADVERTISER]
These agencies joined more than 300 other agencies across the state in what is recognized as the largest fundraising and public awareness project for Special Olympics Florida.

Each year, the Flame of Hope is carried by more than 5,000 officers on a 1,500-mile relay through Florida’s 67 counties. The Special Olympics reports that since inception, the Law Enforcement Torch Run has raised more than half a billion dollars nationwide and has “changed millions of attitudes by engaging law enforcement officers worldwide to be champions of acceptance and inclusion.â€

Washington County correctional officers and deputies started their leg of the Special Olympics Torch Run full of excitement and energy. [DIANE M. MOORE | THE NEWS AND ADVERTISER]
The relay, which began last month, is the precursor to the Special Olympics Florida State Summer Games and will end with officers bringing the Flame of Hope into the Special Olympics Stadium.

Participants from Northwest Florida Reception Center and the Florida Panhandle Technical College, members of administration and WAVE school Special Olympics Team gathered at the end of the Torch Run. [DIANE M. MOORE | THE NEWS AND ADVERTISER]
Participants from Holmes Correctional Institution, Holmes CI K-9 team and members of administration took part in the annual Special Olympics Torch Run. [DIANE M. MOORE | THE NEWS AND ADVERTISER]