Richard Pierce Awarded the John Carion 'Unsung Hero' Award for 30 Years of Dedication to Special Olympics Massachusetts
On Tuesday, December 1, 2020, Retired Attleboro Police Chief Richard 'Rick' Pierce was awarded the 2020 John Carion 'Unsung Hero' Award by the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics International Executive Council. The John Carion Award was established in 1997 to honor the memory of Sergeant John Carion from the Sterling Heights Police Department in Michigan, USA, and serves to recognize outstanding individuals who have contributed to the success of the Law Enforcement Torch Run on a local, state or community level.
Chief Pierce has been involved with Special Olympics Massachusetts and the Law Enforcement Torch Run program for almost 30 years. In that time, he has waited tables for donation ''tips' at Tip-A-Cop fundraisers across the region; he has rappelled 23 stories off the roof of a hotel in downtown Boston to raise money and awareness for the organization; he has flexed his muscles at Truck Pulls; he has rallied law enforcement from across Massachusetts to support the athletes of Special Olympics at competitions large and small; and he has done it all with compassion and dedication, asking nothing in return.
Chief Pierce's involvement with Special Olympics Massachusetts began when he attended his first Attleboro School Day Games in the early 1990s. He saw the joy and sense of accomplishment the athletes expressed after competing in the sports they loved, and immediately understood the positive impact his fellow law enforcement colleagues could have in the communities they serve. These Games were the catalyst for what would almost a second career for Pierce - and a life's calling; he would spend the remaining fifteen plus years of his law enforcement career instilling a duty to service in his fellow officers that included Special Olympics athletes.
But Chief Pierce didn't stop there. Over the years, his engagement with Special Olympics would expand beyond the Attleboro community and he would eventually accept the role of Co-Director of the Law Enforcement Torch Run Executive Council in Massachusetts. As co-director, he was one of the leaders who presided over the re-birth of the Massachusetts Torch Run program, building local law enforcement into one of the most important partners of Special Olympics Massachusetts. With Pierce's guidance, the Law Enforcement Torch Run in Massachusetts has out-raised itself every year for at least the last five years; in 2019, law enforcement fundraising initiatives raised over $735,000 in Massachusetts.
Special Olympics Massachusetts President & CEO Mary Beth McMahon remarked, ''Rick would be the first to tell you that there are far more deserving individuals (he'd be wrong), and then he'd probably name a few off the top of his head. That's who Rick Pierce is. He's a roll-up-your-sleeves, right-there-with-you team player, uninterested in the glory of his impact. That's what drew him to his work in the Attleboro community, it's why he's such an effective leader of the Massachusetts Torch Run program, and it's exactly what makes him an un-sung hero within the global Law Enforcement Torch Run movement."