The Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics
The Special Olympics community is grateful to the officers from around the world who raise awareness and funds through the Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) for Special Olympics.
Eternal Flame. Officers and athletes running the Final Leg ahead of the start of the 2011 World Summer Games in Athens, Greece. Photo by Andrea Kramer.
The LETR Initiative Turns 32
The mission of the Law Enforcement Torch Run® (LETR) for Special Olympics is to increase awareness and raise funds for the Special Olympics movement. Each year, the LETR initiative grows bigger and better. (For a quick and inspiring history of the Torch Run, watch this video).
In January 2013, an international team of 130 members -- including 92 law enforcement officers, 10 Special Olympics athletes, and 28 support personnel -- served as Guardians of the Flame® as they ran the Flame of Hope through the cities and towns of the Republic of Korea. This was a prelude throughout to the Special Olympics World Winter Games held in PyeongChang, Republic of Korea, from 29 January to 5 February 2013. The Final Leg runners were selected from around the world to represent their respective LETR chapters and Special Olympics Programs.
As the largest grass-roots fundraiser and public awareness vehicle for Special Olympics, the LETR raised over $42.1 million in 2011. Since its inception in 1981, it has grown extensively worldwide with over 142,000 volunteers spanning 48 countries, and raising more than $414 million for the Special Olympics movement. Fundraising is only part of what the officers involved with the initiative give to the movement. Our athletes say law enforcement officers are truly supportive of the cause – extending to them friendship, acceptance and encouragement.
Special Olympics thanks these officers for their untiring support and salutes them for protecting the world and its citizens.
From a Flicker to a Flame
The Law Enforcement Torch Run® for Special Olympics (LETR) began in 1981, when Wichita, Kansas (USA) Police Chief Richard LaMunyon saw an urgent need to increase awareness of Special Olympics. He also saw it as an ideal way to get local law enforcement personnel involved with the Special Olympics community. The LETR was quickly adopted by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), now recognized as the founding organization of the Special Olympics Law enforcement Torch Run®. What started as a flicker, thirty-two years ago, has grown into a roaring flame of support and stability for Special Olympics athletes worldwide.
Carrying the Flame of Hope
At its most basic level, the LETR is a running event in which officers and athletes carry the Flame of Hope® to the Opening Ceremony of Special Olympics local competitions, state and provincial Games, and National Summer or Winter Games. In addition, every two years, law enforcement officers from around the world gather to carry the Flame of Hope® in a Final Leg torch run in honor of the Special Olympics World Summer or World Winter Games.
Overall, the LETR initiative encompasses a variety of fundraising vehicles. These include T-shirt and merchandise sales, donations and pledges for runners who participate in the LETR, corporate partnerships, and special events such as Polar Plunge®, Tip-A-Cop®, World’s Largest Truck Convoy ®, Cops on Top®, golf tournaments and other events that have extensive local appeal.
For general inquiries, please contact:
Michael Teem, Executive Director, Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics
For your local LETR Director, contact: click here.
For your local LETR Liaison, contact: click here.
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