Troopers going the distance to serve and protect

One day before their big graduation, and the strenuous training continued.

On Thursday dozens of men and women went the distance to become the state's newest class of Highway Patrol Troopers. One day before their big graduation, and the strenuous training continued.

After 19 weeks of intense training, the soon-to-be Highway Troopers are approaching the finish line.

"It was a challenge," said graduating Trooper William Lee. "A challenge we all met as a team, and we accomplished what we came here for."

William Lee joining 43 other men and women, making up the group of deputies troopers to serving and protecting.

"It's all a part of being a team and one big family," said Lee. "And we work together to accomplish the mission set in front of us."

"Dedication, commitment and working together as a group and you can be successful," said State Highway Patrol Colonel Kenny Lancaster.

It's success Lancaster demands from his troopers. On Thursday the Highway Patrol hosted its first "Challenge Run." Colonel Lancaster joined forces with other senior command staff, to lead by example.

"Just because we are higher rank doesn't mean that we are any different than they are," said Lancaster. "We want to be a part of the team with them and I think that opens up a communication."

"It's very much encouraging to see the top of the leadership out here with us; to root us on," said Lee.

And to commemorate the troopers tireless effort and dedication, the Highway Patrol presented a personalized brick to each officer. It will stand as a constant reminder of the importance of building on solid ground.

"We started their foundation 19 weeks ago and we want them to continue to build on their foundation," said Lancaster.

"For me its never stop living the dream, and this is a dream come true," said Lee.

And a dream come true for dozens of men and women dedicated to unyielding service.