Law Enforcement Torch Run’s 2018 in Review
By: LETR Executive Council Co-Director, Retired Chief Rick Pierce
With 2018 coming to a close, Law Enforcement Torch Run Executive Co-Director Chief DiGianvittorio and I would like to extend our sincere thanks for all your hard work and dedication to raising funds and awareness for Special Olympics athletes across Massachusetts. Our Massachusetts LETR program has continued to grow in 2018 and we have welcomed many newcomers who have joined our ranks and even organized some first-time fundraisers. We continue to expand across the state from north to south and east to west while gaining new partners and conducting some very successful fundraising events.
On behalf of LETR Co-Director Chief Jim DiGianvittorio and myself, as well as the LETR Executive Council, I would like to say Thank You and Congratulations to each and every one of you for contributing in any way to help make our LETR Program the great success that it is and will continue to be! Every one of our LETR partners should be extremely proud of their accomplishments and part in supporting our athletes! To quote what retired Chief Richard LaMunyon once said, “What started as a flicker of hope for Special Olympics has now become a roaring flame of stability for Special Olympics Athletes worldwide.”
This past year has been very busy and productive for the LETR. Of the many LETR events that were held during the year, here are just a few of the highlights:
- The State Flag Football Games was another huge success this year at Gillette Stadium and Franklin High School. Police officers from area departments and recruits from the Plymouth Police Academy ran with the Flame of Hope into the stadium to kick off the flag football event.
- Our end-of-the-year Tip-A-Cop events were very successful: in December, 7 British Beer Company restaurants at various locations raised over $10,000. A Tip-A-Cop in Danvers at the Texas Roadhouse raised $2,000 and a set of Tip-A-Cops in Orleans raised over $3,000.
- LETR was well represented again this year at the Summer Games where recruits from more than three police academies escorted the Flame of Hope into the Opening Ceremonies at Boston University.
- Our 10th annual Cruiser Convoy, the largest to date, had 215 police vehicles participating this year and brought in over $25,000. The Massachusetts Cruiser Convoy is still the only cruiser convoy in the United States that is held to benefit Special Olympics.
- The six LETR Polar Plunges raised $138,000 in 2018.
- One of our most unique fundraisers – Cop on Top – raised a combined $59,000 for Special Olympics, with locations in Pittsfield ($50,000) and Chicopee ($9,000).
- The Peabody Holiday Torch Run was another big success raising $40,000.
- Once again, this is shaping up to be another very successful year for our LETR Program. We are projecting to raise over $600,000 again this year!
I would also like to mention just a few of the highlights from the past year and some things to look forward to in 2019.
- Sergeant Larry Crosman from Mansfield PD and Special Olympics Athlete Danny Williamson represented Massachusetts at the Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle, Washington this past July. Check out the photos from their trip on our Facebook page!
- Unified sports activities continue to grow and many members of the law enforcement community are participating in the unified sports events.
- In July, members of the LETR Executive Council were honored to participate with Special Olympic Athletes in the Ceremonial Torch Lighting at the home of Eunice Kennedy-Shriver in Hyannis, MA as part of the 50th Anniversary celebration for Special Olympics.
- Following the torch lighting ceremony in Hyannis, Pittsfield PD Investigator John Bassi and his son Jake along with LETR Region One Coordinator Joe Carlone, escorted the Flame of Hope from Massachusetts to Chicago for the Special Olympics 50th Anniversary Celebration.
- We are looking forward to a busy Polar Plunge season coming up in 2019. Join a 2019 Plunge near you!
- Officer Andy Larose from the Marlborough Police Department will be going to Abu Dhabi in 2019 as part of the Final Leg Team at the World Games, and Officer Kristine Crosman from North Attleboro PD will be part of the Final Leg Team support staff.
Once again, this has been another tremendous and memorable year for the Massachusetts LETR Program and we appreciate your unselfish commitment and dedication to raising funds and awareness to benefit our Special Olympic athletes. Thank You for all that you do and continue to do!
Wishing everyone a Happy and Safe Holiday Season and Best Wishes for the New Year!!
Chief Richard Pierce (Ret.)
Co-Director LETR Program