By John Hollis, Belvoir EagleJune 11, 2014
Fort Belvoir, Va. (June 12, 2014) - Freddie Florentz has long been a believer in the Special Olympics and not even two surgically replaced hips were going to stop the Fort Belvoir Police Department captain from showing just how much.
Florentz, a former military policeman who spent 22 years in the Army before retiring as a first sergeant, was among the 15 or so runners from Fort Belvoir who took part in the Virginia Law Enforcement Torch Run to benefit Special Olympics Virginia, June 5.
The event marked the fifth time that Florentz had participated in the well-received fundraiser for Special Olympics, but his first while at Fort Belvoir.
"I enjoy it because I enjoy giving back to the Special Olympics and my fellow police officers who do this every year," he said.
The torch, which was used to light the flame for the Special Olympics Summer Games that took place in Richmond Friday and Saturday, began making its way to the state capitol on May 31 before being carried by law enforcement officers and community members from seven different regions throughout Northern Virginia.
Officers from the metropolitan Richmond area ran the last leg onto the University of Richmond's Robins Center to open the Summer Games that featured more than 1,500 athletes.
The runners who braved the roughly three-mile leg across Fort Belvoir in the day's unseasonably-comfortable temperatures represented a number of different law enforcement agencies, including the Fort Belvoir Police Department, the 212th Military Police Detachment, the Fort Belvoir Community Hospital Police and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.
Several of them said they welcomed the opportunity to give back to the community that has warmly embraced them.
"It's very important," said Sgt. John Hornsby, 212th Military Police. "You've got to help out kids."
Command Sgt. Maj. Scott Guillory, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Belvoir, proudly represented the garrison.
"For me, anything that gives back to the community and gives back to the military, I want to get involved with," he said. "This lets the public know that not only does the military serve, but gives back to the community."
More than 2,000 police officers took part in the Torch Run, which was sponsored by the Sun Trust Foundation and Enterprise and supported by the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police, the Virginia Sheriff's Association, the Virginia Department of Corrections, the Virginia Association of Regional Jails, and the Virginia Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administration.
Since 2011, they have collectively raised more than $1.1 million for Special Olympics and better than $16 million since the Torch Run's inception in 1986.