Law Enforcement Torch Run’s Year in Review
By: LETR Executive Council Co-Director, Retired Chief Rick Pierce
With 2017 coming to a close, Law Enforcement Torch Run Executive Council Co-Director Chief DiGianvittorio and I would like to extend our thanks for all your hard work and dedication to raising funds and awareness for Special Olympics athletes across Massachusetts. The Massachusetts LETR program has grown so much in 2017, as evidenced by the newcomers who have joined our ranks and even organized some of the year’s first-time fundraisers. We are expanding across the state, with events and partners stretching from the Berkshires to the outer limits of Cape Cod.
On behalf of Chief 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 continues to be! Every one of our LETR partners should be extremely proud of their accomplishments and part in supporting our athletes!
“What started as a flicker of hope for Special Olympics has now become a roaring flame of stability for Special Olympics athletes worldwide.” – the founder of the Law Enforcement Torch Run, Retired Chief Richard LaMunyon
These past two months, in particular, have been extremely busy and productive for us. Here are just a few highlights since mid-November:
- The State Flag Football Games was another huge success this year that saw various officers and nearly 200 recruits from the MA State Police Academy running the flame of hope into Gillette Stadium.
- Approximately $150,000 has been raised since November including about $122,000 alone in one weekend!!
- Our first 24-hour “Super Plunge” took place in Berkshire County and was a big success!
- British Beer Company restaurants hosted five new Tip-A-Cops last week, raising nearly $8,000 in one night and bringing together brand new departments for a fun and productive fundraiser!
Once a final tally of the funds raised and the events held has been confirmed, a more detailed list will follow by the end of the year. Once again, this is shaping up to be another very successful year for our LETR Program. I would also like to mention a few more highlights from the past year and some things to look forward to in 2018:
- Two awesome regional conferences took place, in the Berkshires and Pioneer Valley, where we recruited more LETR partners to boost our events and fundraising capabilities.
- One of our own, Pittsfield Police Investigator John Bassi, was inducted into the Special Olympics Massachusetts Hall of Fame in June, 2017.
- Pittsfield Police Officer Darren Derby and North Attleboro Police Officer Kristine Crosman represented Massachusetts LETR at the Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria in March, 2017.
- The law enforcement community has really embraced Special Olympics Unified Sports, as evidenced by several fun sports scrimmages between Cape Cod athletes and their local police departments.
- Our 10th anniversary of the Cruiser Convoy into Summer Games (still the only cruiser convoy in the United States!) took place in June 2017, with approximately 180 cruisers and other police vehicles participating.
- Mansfield Police Sergeant Larry Crosman will represent Massachusetts LETR at the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle, Washington in July as a Final Leg Torch Runner, alongside Massachusetts Cape Ann athlete Danny Williamson – one of only six athletes across the country chosen for the Final Leg Torch Run!
- And, preparations are underway for celebrating the 50th anniversary of Special Olympics in 2018. Look for more details in future newsletters.
Once again, this has been another tremendous year for the LETR Program and we appreciate your selfless 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