Citing the program’s many positive attributes, Mayor JB Whitten proclaimed April 3 Special Olympics Day in Crestview. The proclamation came at the start of the regional Okaloosa County games that morning, hosted again at Crestview High School’s Jack Foster Stadium.
“Special Olympics provides valuable opportunities for children and adults with disabilities to discover and experience the joy and confidence associated with taking part in sporting events,” Mayor Whitten’s proclamation said. “This organization also works to build inclusive environments where individuals with similar needs and circumstances can inspire one another to reach new heights.”
The Special Olympics regional games were heralded March 24 with the Law Enforcement Torch Run on Industrial Drive from the north Crestview Publix down to the Police Department at the Whitehurst Municipal Building on Stillwell Boulevard.
Mayor Whitten, an avid runner, was among the phalanx of officers from multiple agencies and jurisdictions that also included Police Chief Stephen McCosker and a team of his officers and administrative staff.
The mayor, chief and several Crestview officers, got to carry the torch for part of the run’s approximately two-mile distance.
Crestview Police K9 Division Officer Nate Marlar ran while wearing a gas mask, which he donned “to show respect for the challenges the courageous people we were running for and representing face on a daily basis.”
The Crestview Police Department has always had officers participating in the Torch Run. This year’s hometown group included at least nine officers, plus the chief and mayor.
“We had a pretty good turnout,” Officer Marlar said. “I was stoked to see it!”
Mayor Whitten said the Special Olympics are an inspirational event.
“The Special Olympics Athletes Oath, ‘Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt,’ encompasses the spirit and heart of these athletes and provides encouragement for all Crestview citizens,” he said.