LETR Year in Review for 2019
By: LETR Executive Council Co-Director, Chief Rick Pierce (Retired)Greetings,Another very successful year for the Massachusetts Law Enforcement Torch Run program is about to come to an end. Our 2019 LETR activities and events will set another fundraising goal as we continue to raise funds and awareness for our Special Olympic Athletes in Massachusetts. Our 2019 fundraising projected total is $736,000!
Once again, in 2019 we have seen new members and departments join our LETR team as we continue to expand and grow our program. LETR Executive Co-Director Chief Jim DiGianvittorio and I would like to thank all of you for your unselfish dedication and hard work in helping to make our LETR program such a great success. Each of you should be extremely proud of the work you do to support our Special Olympic Athletes and we are honored to work alongside such amazing individuals who share our goals and expectations to make the Massachusetts LETR program one of the best and an example for other programs to follow. We would also like to thank the Special Olympics MA staff that has helped to make this partnership the success that it is. In particular; Stephanie Esposito, Meghan O'Neil, Ellie Gamache, Rebecca Doherty, Steve Huftalen and others who have worked closely with the LETR program - ''Thank You" for your commitment, hard work, dedication and patience.
This past year has been another busy and productive year for the MA LETR. Here are just a few of the many LETR activities and events that were held during the year:
- The State Flag Football Games was another huge success this year at Gillette Stadium and Franklin High School. Police officers from area departments as well as the state police and academy recruits ran with the Flame of Hope from the Foxboro State Police Barracks into Gillette Stadium to kick off the flag football event.
- Our Tip-A-Cop events were very successful again this year. We have seen an increase in the number of Tip-A-Cop events that are being held throughout the state. Thanks to all those that have made these events successful.
- The LETR was well represented again this year at the opening ceremonies for Summer Games at Boston University.
- Our signature LETR Cruiser Convoy was another great success with over 220 police vehicles participating in the procession to Harvard University where officers from around the state presented medals to the Special Olympic Athletes. Each year, we see new departments join us at the Cruiser Convoy.
- Our Cop-On-Top events have seen another successful year. In addition to our mainstay and extremely successful Cop-On Top event in Pittsfield, MA; the events have increased to include the Chicopee, North Adams, Ware, and Hadley police departments, fire, EMS, and surround towns hosting their own Cop-On-Top events.
- The Peabody Holiday Torch Run was another huge success raising over $52,000 with numerous local restaurants and businesses donating food for the Taste of the Town feature of the event.
- Our Polar Plunges this past year were cold but popular. We are anticipating some new Polar Plunges to be added to our already successful events in 2020.
- The Mansfield Fire Truck Pull joined forces with the Humboldt Moving and Storage Pull to make the event bigger and more challenging for the truck pull participants.
- The Hampden County Sheriff's Department hosted a very successful Celebrity Golf Tournament this past year at the Cold Spring Country Club in Belchertown, MA.
- Unified sports activities continue to grow and many members of the law enforcement community are participating in the unified sports events.
Also noted this past year:
- Officer Andy Larose of the Marlborough Police Department participated in the Final Leg Run to the World Games held in Abu Dhabi in March. Officer Larose was part of the Final Leg Team that escorted the Flame of Hope to the opening ceremonies of the Special Olympics World Games.
- Officer Kristine Crosman of the North Attleboro Police Department was a Team Leader for the Final Leg Team that traveled to the United Arab Emirates and participated in the World Games opening ceremonies in Abu Dhabi.
- Officer Jon Stackhouse from the Acton Police Department participated in the Guardians of the Flame Miner's Lamp Escort at this year's LETR International Conference in Aurora, Colorado.
- Sergeant Larry Crosman of the Mansfield Police Department was inducted into the 2019 Special Olympics Massachusetts Hall of Fame.
From Torch Runs to Comedy Nights and Cop-On-Tops to Truck Pulls; the LETR events have been increasing and becoming more and more successful thanks to the many individuals participating in the LETR program. Your efforts have made this another memorable and successful year for the Massachusetts LETR Program.
Even though this has been a very successful year there is still work to be done. The law enforcement officers throughout the state that have become involved with LETR and Special Olympics should take great pride in knowing that their accomplishments have impacted the lives of so many Special Olympics Massachusetts Athletes. Our athletes and their families truly appreciate what you do and to them you are Real Heroes!
Many of you that are reading this letter have experienced the joy and gratification one gets when we present a medal to an athlete who has worked so hard to be included and accomplish something that he or she had never thought possible. Some of you have participated in raising awareness for our athletes by being part of the cruiser convoy or some other activity that acknowledges and brings awareness to Special Olympics.
In keeping with our mission of raising funds and awareness to benefit our Special Olympic Athletes, the MA LETR program continues to grow at an amazing pace. We have come a long way in the past eleven years and we are so close to reaching our goal of raising a million dollars. We want to see our athletes excel and grow and we want to do whatever it takes to make that happen . . . but we can't do it alone. We need your help! Now is the time to get involved, to organize your own fundraising event in 2020 or help out at one of our existing fundraising events so that we can make it bigger and better to raise more funds and awareness. Every little bit helps and is greatly appreciated.
On behalf of Co-Director Chief DiGianvittorio and the members of the MA LETR Executive Council; I would like to say, ''Thank You for your unselfish commitment and dedication to help raise funds and awareness to benefit our Special Olympic Athletes in Massachusetts."
Wishing everyone a Happy and Safe Holiday Season and Best Wishes for the New Year!!Chief Richard J. Pierce (Retired)Co-Director - LETR Program