The statewide Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Missouri, founded by the Missouri Police Chiefs Association 28 years ago, recognized the top achievers at the annual awards ceremony Dec. 12.
The Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics is the organization’s largest grassroots fundraising program in the state.
Special Olympics is law enforcement’s charity of choice, not only in Missouri, but throughout the United States and in 48 countries worldwide.
This awards ceremony recognizes individual and department efforts during the 12-month period of Sept. 1, 2012, through Aug. 31, 2013.
The ceremony is held in conjunction with the Missouri Police Chiefs Association mid-year conference and serves to also kickoff 2014 efforts. There were more than 280 attendees at this year’s ceremony.
The Torch Run is divided into nine regions and awards were given to the region coordinators.
The Increase in Torch Club Agencies award went to Region 6 Coordinator Lt. Steve Davis, of the Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop I with a 200 percent increase.
The Percent Increase in Gross Dollars also went to Davis with an $18,000 increase, or 180 percent.
In Region 6, which covers south-central Missouri, the following awards were given:
Outstanding Agency of the Year in Region 6 – Rolla Police Department with $4,913
Outstanding Unsung Hero in Region 6 – Rolla Police Department (461 percent)
Outstanding Agency of the Year in Region 6 – Rolla Police Department (Vince Giacolone)
Outstanding Unsung Heroes in Region 6 - Clarence Liberty, Waynesville Police Department, and Vince Giacolone, Rolla Police Department.
“We are happy to recognize our law enforcement officers and agencies who work so hard for our athletes,” said Susan Stegeman, vice president of Special Olympics Missouri. “These awards are hardly appropriate for the huge difference law enforcement makes for our program.
“Every day somewhere in Missouri a Special Olympics athlete is training and competing. At the same time, somewhere there is a law enforcement officer raising funds or awareness for (Special Olympics Missouri),” Stegeman added. “They do this by hosting fundraising events, recruiting a sponsor or a volunteer. Most importantly, they are helping to create communities of acceptance for our athletes.” Special Olympics Missouri is a year-round program of sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. More than 16,700 athletes participate in 21 Olympic-type sports throughout the state.
Special Olympics provides athletes with continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage and experience joy as they participate in the sharing of gifts and friendship with other athletes, their families and the community.
For more information visit www.somo.org.