Law Enforcement Torch Run began in Wichita, Kansas, in 1981 when Police Chief Richard LaMunyon saw a need to raise awareness of and funds for Special Olympics. He conceived the idea of the Torch Run as a way to involve local law enforcement with Special Olympics and local communities by running the torch in intra-state relays that converge at Summer Games.
Now a global event, all 50 states and more than 30 foreign countries participate in Law Enforcement Torch Run. In Oregon, more than 1,500 law enforcement personnel from federal, military, state, county, and local agencies participate in the year-round Torch Run campaign.
Law Enforcement Torch Run is a three-pronged year-round program:
Adding much to the joy of Special Olympians, Torch Run Oregon volunteers participate in Awards and Games Ceremonies throughout the year at all Regional and State Competitions.
In the summer, Torch Run Oregon volunteers and Special Olympians carry the Flame of Hope through more than 30 counties statewide. A Relay Celebration is held in the city hosting Summer Games to cheer on all the runners.
Fundraising is done throughout the year to ensure Special Olympians can participate in the program free of charge. Funds are raised in many different ways, including: Polar Plunges, recruiting sponsors, T-shirt sales, Relay Pledges, Tip-a-Cops, the Harley Raffle, and Cops on Shops. Funds raised by Torch Run support Local Programs and Regional & State Competitions so that athletes can take part in the sports that they love.
TORCH RUN OREGON
Creates positive community relations.
Strengthens the camaraderie of officers within the same agency and between different agencies in the state.
Benefits people in the local community.
Supports a well-respected charity in the local community.
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2014 Medford Polar Plunge
Special Olympics Volunteer Oath:
“I promise to give of the time in my life so that Special Olympics athletes can have the time of their lives. I promise to support Special Olympics not just as an expression of charity, but as a form of respect for my fellow human beings. I promise to spread the word of volunteerism because, in giving, I receive so much more in return.”