Local law enforcement participated on Tuesday morning in the Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) to assist the Special Olympics of Ohio.
Special Olympians and officers streamed together through downtown Urbana in commemoration of the achievements and abilities of local citizens.
According to the Special Olympics website, the mission of the Law Enforcement Torch Run is to raise funds for and awareness of the Special Olympics movement. Special Olympics is a program which reaffirms the belief that, with hope and dedication, all can see achievement and self-worth realized by any individual. Persons with intellectual disabilities, by their involvement in Special Olympics, show the community at large there are no limits to human potential or the human spirit.
The Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Ohio is a partnership between Special Olympics and law enforcement agencies throughout the state. Over the course of a week in late June, officers join together to bike, run, walk, through 41 counties in Ohio, carrying the Flame of Hope into Columbus to ignite the ceremonial cauldron to officially begin the Special Olympics Ohio State Summer Games. The Flame of Hope has been proudly carried by tens of thousands of officers over the past 32 years.
The LETR also fundraises in many other capacities, including events like the Cleveland Plane Pull and Polar Plunges. Officers also participate in volunteer opportunities at SOOH sporting events throughout the year.
The Law Enforcement Torch Run is the largest public awareness vehicle and grass-roots fundraiser for Special Olympics. It all began in 1981 when Wichita, Kansas Police Chief Richard LaMunyon saw a need to raise awareness and funds for Special Olympics and came up with the idea of the Torch Run as a way to involve local law enforcement with the community and Special Olympics athletes.
After three successful runs in Kansas, LaMunyon presented the idea to the International Association of Police Chiefs. With the IACP’s endorsement, the idea was launched nationally and today involves law enforcement personnel in all 50 states and 25 countries throughout the world.
Profile of a Special Olympian:
Amongst the Special Olympians in Champaign County, is John Hannah, Consumer Advocate at CRSI. In 1983, John played on the Ohio Special Olympics basketball team which traveled to Baton Rouge, Louisiana for the International Special Olympics Games. John was 27 years old. The Ohio Special Olympics basketball team finished third overall, winning four games and losing one. It was a special time for all of the players on the team. The basketball team was made up with 10 different players who represented Ohio and the International Games. Other sports were represented from Ohio such as Track and Field, Softball, Bowling and Swimming.
In 1968, John was one of four players from Ohio that went to the first Special Olympics in Chicago, Illinois. The games were held at Soldiers Field. Champaign County was one of the few counties in Ohio that sent a team to the first Special Olympics in 1968. That year, track and field was the only event attended.
John played on the Champaign County Special Olympics basketball team from 1968 to 1992. In that timeframe, he states he was blessed to be on four State Championship Teams that won a Gold Medal. John participated in tennis, softball, bowling and track and field for over 30 years. This was a very good time in his life. John enjoyed every moment of participating in Special Olympics and the International Games. This experience helped him make great friendships in my life. Later, it came to help him in his job. John knows a lot of individuals from CRSI who have connections in Special Olympics.
Information about John Hannah provided by Champaign Residential Services Inc.