Law Enforcement Torch Run ® for Special Olympics
Since 1981, when Wichita, Kansas Police Chief Richard LaMunyon saw an urgent need to increase awareness of Special Olympics, members of law enforcement have been bestowed the honor and responsibility of being the Guardians of the Flame®. What began simply as escorting the Flame of Hope on its journey across the state to the Opening Ceremonies of Summer Games, Winter Games and all other athletic competitions, turned into one of the largest grassroots fundraising programs in the organization. Today the LETR program is growing at an incredible rate, with all 50 states and more than 35 countries actively participating in the program. 2014 saw 85,000 members of law enforcement help to raise over $50 million for Special Olympics programs worldwide.
In Massachusetts more than 1,000 members of the state’s Law Enforcement community participate in events organized through the LETR program, raising over $550,000 in 2015.
Structure and Management
The LETR program is structured in a way that allows law enforcement and Special Olympics Massachusetts to work as true partners in advancing the cause. To accomplish this, an executive council comprised of law enforcement officials from a cross section of departments across the state are tasked with managing the growth of the program and overall strategic vision. The Executive Council for 2015 is as follows:
- Co-Director — Chief Jim DiGianvittorio, Middleton Police Department
- Co-Director — Chief Richard Pierce (Ret.), Attleboro Police Department
- Western Region Director — John Evon, Hampden County Sheriff’s Office
- Northern Region Director — Chief Steve Mazzie, Everett Police Department
- At-Large, Council Appointed – Investigator John Bassi, Pittsfield Police Department
- At-Large, Council Appointed – Detective Sergeant Larry Crosman, Mansfield Police Department
How Can You Get Involved
It’s easy to get involved in the LETR program. You can organize your own event, or be a part of one that a fellow officer is organizing. Here are a few examples of some of the most popular LETR events: