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North Carolina Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics honors outstanding individuals and agencies with awards

The North Carolina Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics recently presented state-level awards to outstanding individuals and law enforcement agencies that support Special Olympics in North Carolina at the 2019 Torch Run conference in Morehead City, according to Captain Robert Spatorico, co-director of the Torch Run and with the Fayetteville Police Department.

Law enforcement officers and agencies honored at the conference include:
Captain Joey Best of the Apex Police Department was honored with the 2018 Guardian of the Flame award for his ingenuity, motivation, commitment and dedication to the Torch Run. Apex Police Department consistently increases their yearly fundraising total thanks to Best’s leadership. The Apex Police Department raised over $46,796 in 2018 due in large part to their community partnerships such as Chick-fil-A Cops on Top, an annual golf tournament and motorcycle ride.
NC DPS Special Operations Lieutenant Steve McKinney of Foothills Correctional Institution was also honored with the 2018 Guardian of the Flame award for his ingenuity, motivation, commitment and dedication to the Torch Run. Since 2017, McKinney has led the Foothills Correctional Institution’s fundraising efforts through a very successful golf tournament, Fifty for 50 Years campaign, collecting donations and participating in the annual Plane Pull for Special Olympics North Carolina. In 2018, Foothills Correctional Institution raised over $20,000 for Special Olympics NC, placing them in the top 20 participating agencies.
Captain Monica Becton of Gaston County Sheriff’s Office was also honored with the 2018 Guardian of the Flame award for her ingenuity, motivation, commitment and dedication to the Torch Run. The Gaston County Sheriff’s Office raised $23,501 placing them as a top 20 participating agency. Becton has led the Gaston County Sheriff’s Office’s fundraising efforts with a fishing tournament called Anglers for Athletes, a successful No Shave November campaign and participation in the Plane Pull and Over the Edge fundraisers.
Holly Springs Police Department was honored with the Torch Run Director’s Award for their significant and consistent fundraising efforts within the Torch Run.  Through the combined efforts of the entire department, the Holly Springs Police Department has raised more than $67,00 total for the NC Law Enforcement Torch Run in just three years and more than $29,000 in 2018 placing them in the top 10 participating agencies.  In addition to donations collected for T-shirts, this agency raised funds in support of the Fifty for 50 Years campaign, Cops-on-Top events, a motorcycle ride, a Say Yes to the Dress campaign, No Shave November and organizing a highly successful 10k race. The Holly Springs Police Department is also is a champion supporter of the Unified Champions School movement in their community.  Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools bring youth with and without intellectual disabilities together through sports and education to create school communities of acceptance and respect.
Chatham County Sheriff’s Office was honored with the 2018 Most Improved Agency award for increasing their new revenue the most since the 2017 fundraising campaign. In 2018, Chatham County Sheriff’s Office raised nearly $43,000, placing them in the top 10 participating agencies due in part to merchandise donations, a Polar Plunge at Harris Lake, a successful golf tournament and strong community partnerships.
Davidson County Sheriff’s Office was honored with the 2018 Best New Fundraiser award in recognition of their Polaris Side-by-Side Raffle. This innovative fundraiser raised more than $17,000, helping the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office increase their yearly fundraising total by more $15,000 since 2017. Davidson County Sheriff’s Office raised $30,664 in 2018 placing them in the top 10 participating agencies.
Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office was honored with the 2018 Top New Agency award for raising the most funds in their first year ever participating in the North Carolina Law Enforcement Torch Run. Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office raised over $6,000 for Special Olympics thanks to merchandise donations, WOD for Inclusion participation and community support through donations for the Fifty for 50 Years campaign.
Robin Callaway of Charlotte, Dustin Edmondson of Greensboro and Casey Phillips of Raleigh were also recognized for their service as Athlete Ambassadors on the North Carolina Torch Run Council and athlete Stephanie Wilkerson of Thomasville was introduced as a new Athlete Ambassador.
The 2018 Chief of the Year award was presented to Chief Catrina Thompson of the Winston-Salem Police Department at the 2019 North Carolina Association of Chiefs of Police Conference. This award recognized her dedication to the mission of the North Carolina Law Enforcement Torch Run. She gives her full support to each of her agency’s fundraising efforts raising over $59,000 in 2018 ranking them as a top 10 participating agency. Her leadership is critical to the success of Torch Run efforts through the Winston-Salem Police Department and across the state.
The 2018 Sheriff of the Year award was presented to Sheriff Ed McMahon of New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office. This award recognized his dedication to the mission of the North Carolina Law Enforcement Torch Run. He gives his full support to each of his agency’s fundraising efforts, as they raised over $17,000 in 2018 ranking them in the top 20 participating agencies.  His leadership is critical to the success of Torch Run efforts through the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office and across the state.
“Our award recipients have made an immeasurable impact on the lives of Special Olympics NC athletes,” said Major Cam Selvey, co-director of the Torch Run and officer with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. “The dedication and fundraising efforts of the Law Enforcement Torch Run allows Special Olympics North Carolina to provide first class sports training, competition, and development for nearly 40,000 athletes in our state. Their efforts have helped make Special Olympics North Carolina one of the best sports programs in the world.”
To obtain a photo of any of the NC Torch Run award winners, please contact, Rachel McQuiston, Special Olympics NC vice president of communications, at 919-719-7662, ext. 110.
To learn more about the LETR efforts in your area, contact Leslie Moyar, Director of Development for the NC Torch Run, at 1-800-843-6276 ext. 123. (NC Only)
About the NC Law Enforcement Torch Run
The Law Enforcement Torch Run is an international fundraising campaign for Special Olympics. Special Olympics provides year-round sports training and competition for more than 5.7 million children and adults around the world who have intellectual disabilities. In 2018, the NC Torch Run efforts resulted in over $1.3 million being raised for SONC.  Nearly 40,000 athletes participate in Special Olympics in North Carolina, making it one of the largest Special Olympics programs in the world.
The Law Enforcement Torch Run® for Special Olympics is officially endorsed by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the North Carolina Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Sheriff’s Association, the North Carolina Sheriff’s Association, the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators, the National Association of School Resource Officers, NC Association of School Resource Officers, NC Department of Justice and the NC Department of Public Safety.
About Special Olympics North Carolina
Since 1968, Special Olympics North Carolina has used the transformative power of sports to improve the lives of children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Nearly 40,000 athletes in North Carolina inspire thousands of coaches, sports officials, local program committee members and event organizers involved in Special Olympics statewide.  SONC offers year-round training and competition in 19 Olympic-type sports on local and state levels as well as health and wellness initiatives to improve the health status and increase access to community health resources for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Youth become agents of change through Unified Champion Schools, an education and sports-based program created by Special Olympics to build an inclusive environment among youth with and without intellectual disabilities as well as empower them to become youth leaders and create change in their community. Visit Special Olympics North Carolina at www.specialolympicsnc.com. Engage with us on TwitterInstagramFacebook and YouTube.
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