On Thursday, Jan. 24, Special Olympics Oregon presented the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office with a 2012 Special Olympics "Honor Roll Award."
The award honors the Sheriff's Office's fundraising efforts and participation in the 2012 Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) event.
The Law Enforcement Torch Run is a year-round campaign in which officers support Special Olympics Oregon athletes by carrying the "Flame of Hope" Torch, attending competitions, participating in medal ceremonies, and raising funds through special events so Special Olympics athletes can participate without fees in the sports they love.
LETR began in Wichita, Kansas in 1981. Now a year-round global event, all 50 states and more than 30 foreign countries participate in the LETR relay. In Oregon, more than 1,000 law enforcement personnel from federal, military, state, county and local agencies participate in the Torch Run, Special Olympics Oregon's largest grassroots fundraising and public awareness program.
Oregon Special Olympics Vice President and Torch Run Coordinator Allison Ellermeier said the Honor Roll Award is for agencies that raise at least $1,500 a year and that the Sheriff's office "blows that out of the water every year."
"Special Olympics Oregon really appreciates the law enforcement support," she said. "We were in awe with all the support and volunteers."
Last year alone, law-enforcement agencies in Oregon raised over $650,000 for Special Olympics, and nationally, law enforcement personnel raised over $42 million.
The Sheriff's Office continues to support Special Olympics. CCSO employees are currently preparing for the 2013 Polar Plunge on February 9 and the next Torch Run event on June 24.
Clackamas County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Rob Wurpes, who has organized the CCSO Polar Plunge team for the past four years, says that participating in the Polar Plunge as well as fundraising for the Special Olympics is a "very fulfilling event" and that it is nice to "do a little something for someone else."
Deputy Chad Kyser, who is the CCSO coordinator for Oregon's Special Olympics LETR as well as the Red Robin Tip-A-Cop program, has also seen the positive impact of participating in these events. "I've had a unique opportunity to get to know many of Oregon's Special Olympics athletes," Kyser said, "and they are a tremendous inspiration to me -- and have enhanced my own life as a result of getting to know them better."
Kyser added, "If I can persuade an employee to come out and support a Special Olympics event just one time, it's easy to get them to return the following year because they've seen the positive impact it makes in these Special Olympics athletes' lives and how much they really appreciate our support. To me, there is no better reward."
ABOUT SPECIAL OLYMPICS OREGON
Special Olympics Oregon is a non-profit organization that serves more than 10,000 participants throughout the state. The organization offers training and competition opportunities in 14 different Olympic-style sports. Anyone interested in becoming involved with the Special Olympics can visit their website.
Adam Phillips, Sergeant
Office of Public Information