Jason Johnson, former Missoula County Undersheriff, will speak at the Special Olympics national games this weekend in Seattle, Washington.

Johnson, now the Western District Supervisor and Investigator for the Department of Justice’s Gambling Division, will also be running the final leg of the Law Enforcement Torch Run.

“I’m out here in Washington state this week with 60 other officers from around the United States and six athletes from around the country, and we’re a part of the final leg team raising awareness and excitement around the state of Washington leading up to the opening ceremonies in Seattle on Sunday,” Johnson said. “This is my fifth final leg and my fourth opportunity to be team leader and I think maybe that’s why because of the experience that I’ve had that they asked me to speak with an athlete at the opening ceremonies.”

Johnson said his experience with Special Olympics has been a balancing factor with his career in law enforcement.

“We see the worst of society in our jobs, and to spend time with the athletes and their families and to be inspired by the lives they lead, often very difficult lives due to their disabilities, but they prove time and time again that it doesn’t slow them down and they’re not defined by their disability but by their ability and the incredible sportsmanship they show,” he said. “That’s been a blessing to my career which trickles down to my family, and I believe has made me a better person.”

Johnson said there will be about 30,000 athletes and their families at the national games on Sunday at Husky Stadium. The event will be televised live at 1:30 Mountain Time on ABC-TV and ESPN.

(The photo features Johnson with Special Olympian Gary Fuller who is recovering after being assaulted with a baseball bat. Johnson said Fuller is making remarkable progress.)