SHINE — With help from North Olympic Peninsula law enforcement and Port Townsend High School athletes, the Special Olympics torch passed through Clallam and Jefferson counties and was delivered to Kitsap County officials.
A contingent of deputies, officers and troopers relayed the torch across the two counties Wednesday, handing it off to Kitsap County at the Hood Canal Bridge as part of the 2018 Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics.
Members of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Port Townsend Police Department, Port Townsend High School student athletes and Special Olympic athletes received the torch from representatives of the Clallam County Sheriff’s office and Special Olympians and carried it from the intersection of state Highway 104 and U.S. Highway 101 at 3:30 p.m.
The runners continued on for 15 miles to the Hood Canal Bridge and arrived at 7:20 p.m.
Members of the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office in police boats and Port Gamble Tribal Police on jet skis escorted the Port Gamble S’Kallam Tribal Canoe Family who received the torch from Special Olympian Kaylee Krajewski.
It took 50 minutes for the rowers to complete the trip one way. The torch will continue its journey to Pacific Lutheran University on Saturday for the start of the Special Olympic games.
Krajewski, 16, is a Port Townsend swimmer and the only Jefferson County Special Olympian to have won gold in the regional event and qualified to represent the team. She will compete at the Federal Way Aquatic Center on Saturday.
Port Townsend Police Chief Mike Evans and Port Townsend Resource Officer Jeremy Vergin participated in the last stretch of the Peninsula run.
They were joined by Sheriff Dave Stanko, Corrections Officer James Webberly, Corrections Officer Cory Brown and Patrol Deputy Gordon Tamura.
Law enforcement was joined by 11 student runners from the Port Townsend High School track and cross country teams and the Jefferson County Warriors team of Special Olympians: Emi Harris, Danell Larranee, William Kraut, Jesse Latham and Lindsay Starr. They are coached by Jana Harris, Cindy Starr and Danae Larrance.
Clallam County Undersheriff Ron Cameron, who organized the run, said the event was memorable.
“We’ve been doing this event for the past 10 years and the stars aligned for us today,” Cameron said. “This year, we had the canoe available and it is always special when a canoe family can help us out. The weather was perfect for running and rowing, and everyone enjoyed participating in this special event.”
Law enforcement raises funds for Special Olympics through the sale of T-shirts. Cameron said he hopes to organize another fundraising event in the fall.
Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Jeannie McMacken can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at [email protected]