What is the Torch Run ?
WHO WE ARE
The Ontario Law Enforcement Torch Run® (LETR) is the largest public awareness vehicle and grass-roots fundraiser for Special Olympics. Known honourably as Guardians of the Flame, law enforcement members and Special Olympics athletes carry the “Flame of Hope” into the Opening Ceremony of local competitions, and into Special Olympics Provincial, National, Regional and World Games. Worldwide annually, more than 97,000 dedicated and compassionate law enforcement members carry the “Flame of Hope,” symbolizing courage and celebration of diversity uniting communities around the globe.
WHAT WE DO
The LETR for Special Olympics engages law enforcement worldwide championing acceptance and inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities, starting first with their own communities. Over the years the Torch Run has evolved and now encompasses a variety of innovative fundraising platforms to include Polar Plunges, Tip-A-Cops, NHL Alumni Games, Torch Rides, Endurance Series and MORE! Since inception (1987 in Ontario), the LETR has raised more than $35,000,000 and changed millions of attitudes.
WHY WE DO IT
As LETR Founder and retired Chief Richard LaMunyon (Wichita, Kansas) once said, “What started in 1981…as a flicker of hope for Special Olympics has now become a roaring flame of stability for Special Olympics athletes worldwide.” Through the partnership of LETR and Special Olympics, we provide opportunities for athletes to empower and transform themselves, their communities and the world. LETR is changing the future for people with intellectual disabilities and lighting the way for acceptance and inclusion. In Ontario we have a proud history; Cst. Lorne White (Toronto Police Service) brought the movement to Canada in 1987 and the Flame of Hope has been burning bright ever since. We honor Mr. White and thousands of dedicated men and women in Law Enforcement for their tireless dedication and commitment over the past 30 years who have raised much needed funds and awareness for Special Olympics Athletes in this Province.
IMPACT OF FUNDS
All funds raised through Ontario Law Enforcement Torch Run events are directed into program support that directly affects all community Special Olympic Ontario (SOO) programs. Funds are then put into community programs and help pay for various expenses including: games travel, accommodations, meals, staff support to the field, grants to new community programs, volunteer and athlete training, administration and information/promotional materials and development initiatives like the ‘School Program’ which opens up opportunities to new athletes. It’s important to have one provincial fundraiser that helps SOO create an “equitable” playing field. At SOO, small programs, large programs, big cities and small communities are treated with the same level of importance. The development of Special Olympics Ontario is directly related to the success of the Torch Run.