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 North Carolina at the annual NC LETR Conference in Atlantic Beach, NC held Feb. 5-7, according to Lieutenant William Davis of the North Carolina State University Police Department, director of the Torch Run.
The following law enforcement officers and agencies were honored with the 2019 Guardian of the Flame Award:
Lieutenant Ginger Keel of the Knightdale Police Department was recognized for her dedication to enhancing fundraising efforts and recruitment within her department. As an agency coordinator, she has successfully implemented fundraisers including Cover the Cruiser, a Cops on Top and recruited two officers to go Over the Edge for Special Olympics North Carolina, contributing to a total of $37,665 raised in 2019. She championed a new state-level fundraising event, a Workout of the Day for gym communities, in 2019 and has used this platform to reinforce the message of inclusion in Knightdale. Her efforts earned an invitation to her position on the NC LETR State Council.
Colonel Jon Evans of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, Law Enforcement Division, was also presented with the 2019 Guardian of the Flame Award. With a fundraising growth of $4,363 from 2018 to 2019, Evans is committed to the mission of the Torch Run and the enforcement of state guidelines in elevating the potential of the NC Wildlife Resources Commission. For the past two years, Evans has organized and lead the largest Torch Run relay in the state with over 100 North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission officers carrying the Flame of Hope for awareness.
First Sergeant William Montjoy of the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office was the third recipient of the award. In 2019, his department raised $42,540, which was $25,306 more than their fundraising total for 2018. In 2015, the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office received the NC LETR Director’s Award under his leadership as a first-year coordinator. Last year, Montjoy was invited to join the NC LETR State Council and continues to proudly carry the Flame of Hope as a representative in eastern North Carolina.
Captain Ryan Jackson of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department retained his department’s position in raising the most funds for NC LETR in the state, $83,558. Through his work ethic, he consistently finds new ways to grow Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s reach in their community. As a leader of their department’s successes, he works tirelessly each year to enhance their community policing outreach through fundraisers including Cops on Top, a golf tournament, an online auction, Tip-A-Cop and t-shirt donations. In 2018, Jackson joined the NC LETR State Council, continuing his ability to challenge and grow the mission of inclusion and recruit neighboring agencies.
Detective Jonathan Todd of the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office celebrated alongside his department in raising a 2019 total of $40,272 for Special Olympics North Carolina. With a strong passion for both NC LETR and the athletes it supports, Todd perseveres in creating new opportunities to increase his agency’s impact. In 2019, he executed a successful Side x Side raffle, raising over $34,000. He also co-coordinates the largest golf tournament for NC LETR in the state. Todd joined the State Council over three years ago and strives to raise awareness and place emphasis on agency recruitment.
Captain Alena Carson of the Marion Correctional Institution was recognized for her department’s efforts in raising the second highest fundraising total by a North Carolina Department of Public Safety agency, $17,675. Carson continuously sets high expectations and goals for the North Carolina Department of Public Safety and strives to exceed them.
The following law enforcement officers, agencies and athletes were also honored with 2019 NC LETR awards:
Apex Police Department was honored with the Torch Run Director’s Award as they continue each year to champion the mission of hope. In 2018, their agency raised $46,796. A year later, their fundraising total grew to $62,959. Throughout the year, their efforts include hosting a Polar Plunge, Cops on Top, Tip-A-Cop, a golf tournament, a motorcycle ride, t-shirt donations and a raffle. Apex Police Department Chief John Letteney proudly embodies the NC LETR mission through his involvement in the Executive Council and a local LETR committee, led by Captain Joey Best. This agency has a team that is devoted to Special Olympics North Carolina athletes and their community policing outreach.
Robin Callaway of Special Olympics Mecklenburg County is the first-ever recipient of the NC LETR Athlete Ambassador Flame of Hope Award. As an Athlete Ambassador for the past six years, Callaway participates in the Torch Run State Council meetings and the annual NC LETR Conference. Callaway is actively involved in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s Torch Run in addition to training and competing as a Special Olympics North Carolina athlete.
Top New Agency – Creedmoor Police Department
Most Improved Agency – Chatham County Sheriff’s Office
Best New Fundraiser – Greensboro Police Department
North Carolina Department of Public Safety Official of the Year – Warden Teresa Jardon
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 5.4 million children and adults around the world who have intellectual disabilities. 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, the organization 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 Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.