Service members are once again being called upon to dig deep to help athletes clear the financial hurdle to attend the 2014 Special Olympics Summer Games in Vancouver.
Last year, members contributed nearly $65,000 and expectations are they will raise more than they did a year ago.
In addition, the Service is seeking to raise an additional $21,000 this year to send athletes to Special Olympics Ontario.
“Over the last couple of years, I have seen the commitment of the Service members and the event has grown substantially,” said S/Superintendent Jim Ramer, Chair of the Toronto Police Service Law Enforcement Torch Run, at the 27th annual torch run/walk on May 29. “We have had some great success which is evident by the number of participants here today.”
The Toronto Police Services Board contributed $5,000, the Service’s Senior Officers Association and the Police Credit Union each presented $500, the Toronto Police Amateur Athletic Association donated $4,000 and the Toronto Police Association made a presentation for $5,000 to the fund.
Retired Chief Jack Marks and Const. Lorne White organized the inaugural Torch Run/Walk in Canada in 1987 that brought together about 1,200 participants from 36 law enforcement agencies. They covered nearly 900 kilometres before lighting the flame at Varsity Arena to kick off the Special Olympics International Floor Hockey tournament.
Glen MacDonell, the president of Special Olympics Ontario, acknowledged the Service’s support over the years.
“It takes partners to make anything work, and certainly the law enforcement run is a partnership group that has supported Special Olympics worldwide,” he said. “Nobody does it better than law enforcement… There is a great legacy to Toronto Police. It takes somebody definitely to start something and we got it started with help from Toronto Police.”
Acting Chief Mark Saunders attended the opening ceremony and presented the cheque on behalf of the Toronto Police Services Board.
“I have to thank the athletes for their participation,” said Saunders. “Without them, there is no run or walk.”
Cover photo by Kevin Kwan