FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 11, 2013
SECRETARY VINYARD, PARK STAFF PARTICIPATE IN SPECIAL OLYMPICS LAW ENFORCEMENT TORCH RUN
~Law Enforcement Torch Run draws 300 in Tallahassee~
Florida Park Service Director Donald Forgione carries the torch running with Governor Scott
TALLAHASSEE – Secretary Herschel Vinyard, Florida Park Service Director Donald Forgione and nine Florida Park Service employees participated in the Law Enforcement Torch Run for the Special Olympics today with Governor Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi.
The Florida Law Enforcement Torch Run is the signature annual event of the criminal justice community’s year-round support of Special Olympics. Each year, more than 5,000 officers carry the “Flame of Hope” in a 1,500-mile relay through 66 counties in Florida.
"The Special Olympics is a terrific cause and I am excited to be participating in this event again," said DEP Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard, Jr. "It is a special treat for me because I am going to get to run with some of the staff of our award-winning state parks lead by Donald Forgione."
During the race, the torch was passed from Governor Rick Scott to various representatives from participating law enforcement agencies as well as Forgione. More than 300 participants ran in the Tallahassee segment of the interstate torch relay, which culminated with a ceremony at the Historic Old Capitol that brought together the Special Olympic athletes and the run participants.
"The Florida Park Service is so proud to be part of this event," said Forgione. "The Florida state parks are for all people, including the heroic and courageous athletes that the Special Olympians are."
Ceremony attendees heard from several local and state officials including Governor Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi, Tallahasse Mayor John Marks, as well as the President of the Special Olympics Florida Sherry Wheelock, Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell and Tallahassee Police Department Chief Dennis Jones.
“The Special Olympics is a wonderful organization that brings athletes, families and communities together to celebrate the annual competitive games for children and adults with intellectual disabilities,” said Bondi. “I appreciate DEP Secretary Herschel Vinyard and Florida State Park staff for showing their community support by participating in today’s Law Enforcement Torch Run.”
This event is an example of the community involvement Florida Park Service staff takes part in across the state. Community involvement is a critical component of promoting Florida's award-winning state parks, greenways and trails, which is one of Secretary Vinyard's top priorities.