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The Special Olympics torch travels through the Tri-Counties

CHP's Jonathan Gutierrez and Richard Castanon run the Flame of Hope torch through Santa Barbara County
Caroline Feraday
CHP's Jonathan Gutierrez and Richard Castanon run the Flame of Hope torch through a part of Santa Barbara County

It’s making its way through our region ahead of the Special Olympics Games this weekend.

Coming around the corner and into view - accompanied by a police car, is CHP Officer Richard Castanon and his CHP PIO colleague Jonathan Gutierrez. They’re running on foot, carrying the familiar Flame of Hope torch, symbolic of the Special Olympic games.

Gutierrez told KCLU that they are "happy and proud" to be part of the torch-carrying team from law enforcement agencies in the area who are carrying the torch, ahead of it ending up in Long Beach this weekend and eventually Berlin, Germany.

It’s part of the Law Enforcement Torch Run – which involves various law enforcement agencies – these CHP officers will run part of the way, before passing to others who will pass the torch to Ventura County law enforcement agencies, to continue the torch’s journey.

"The training in the academy has prepped me for this," joked Castanon.

The pair are running for two miles and then passing the torch to the Sheriff's Department.

Patrick Adams from the District Attorney’s Office is also running part of the way.

"It's a really good feeling...puts a smile on your face to watch this," he said.

"It's all about inclusiveness," said Mike Logie, Captain and Commander at the Santa Barbara CHP office. "In law enforcement we are always striving to reach out and these athletes have a very similar struggle where they are trying to be accepted in society, make a difference and live their life to the fullest.

"We have very similar goals," he said.

"This is an opportunity for us to give back," said Logie.

The Torch Run has been taking place since 1981 and supports programs in sports training and competition for our area Special Olympic athletes with intellectual disabilities.

The Special Olympics Southern California Summer Games are being held this coming weekend at Cal State Long Beach.

Caroline joined KCLU in October 2020. She won LA Press Club's Audio Journalist of the Year Award in 2022, 2023 and 2024.

Since joining the station she's won 10 Golden Mike Awards, 6 Los Angeles Press Club Awards, 2 National Arts & Entertainment Awards and a Regional Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Writing.

She started her broadcasting career in the UK, in both radio and television for BBC News, 95.8 Capital FM and Sky News and was awarded the Prince Philip Medal for her services to radio and journalism in 2007.

She has lived in California for eleven years and is both an American and British citizen - and a very proud mom to her daughter, Elsie.