LEXINGTON COUNTY — Lexington County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Kason B. Gardner recently received the J.P. Strom Award from the S.C. Criminal Justice Academy.
Gardner, 22, of Batesburg-Leesville received the academy’s top academic award for achieving the highest cumulative point total for all written tests given during the basic law enforcement officer training session.
He was honored by Criminal Justice Academy director Hubert F. Harrell during graduation ceremonies for Basic Law Enforcement Training Session 606.
Gardner joined the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department in April.
“Kason joins a select number of exceptional law enforcement officers in South Carolina who have earned the highly coveted J.P. Strom Award,” Sheriff James Metts said.
“Kason already has developed a reputation at our agency for performing his duties at a high level,” the sheriff added. “When you give Kason an assignment, you can count on it being done correctly. I believe that Kason will be an excellent deputy.”
Gardner will be assigned to a road patrol shift after completing the field training program required by the Sheriff’s Department.
Buddy Walk this weekend
Family Connection of South Carolina will hold its 14th annual Columbia Buddy Walk, beginning at 1 p.m. Sunday at Sesquicentennial State Park.
Family Connection provides support, resources and information to families of children with special healthcare needs, and the walk raises awareness for individuals with Down syndrome.
The 1.5-mile Buddy Walk, a family-friendly event, will include food, exhibitors, games and activities. Participants can enjoy a DJ, bounce castles, pony rides, face painting, and arts and crafts.
“The Buddy Walk is a wonderful opportunity to educate the community and raise awareness for people who have Down syndrome,” said Seana McKee, Columbia Buddy Walk coordinator. “The focus of the walk is not on disabilities, but on abilities and talents. It is an inspirational day where we all walk together to support people with Down syndrome and their families.”
The Buddy Walk was established in 1995 by the National Down Syndrome Society to promote acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome and to celebrate Down Syndrome Awareness Month in October. Last year’s walk raised more than $59,000 and drew 1,200 participants.
Sesquicentennial State Park is at 9564 Two Notch Road in Columbia.
The Buddy Walk is free and open to the public. To learn more or register, visit FamilyConnectionSC.org.