In 1982, the late Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Officer Steven Vitale was asked to take photos at a local Special Olympics competition in New Jersey. He was so moved by the determination exhibited by the athletes that he asked other police officers to volunteer at the Summer Games.
The First Torch Run
In 1984, the first New Jersey Torch Run was conceived to raise funds and public awareness for the Special Olympics New Jersey program. The course ran from Liberty State Park in Jersey City to Rutgers Stadium in New Brunswick, through eight towns, covering 34 miles and raising $7,000. In each succeeding year, the dollar amount became greater and the number of volunteers increased substantially.
Driven by the willingness of the New Jersey Law Enforcement officers to do more, the Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) began to expand over the years. New fundraising events and initiatives were created and held throughout the Garden State to promote the Special Olympics movement. The Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics New Jersey is recognized as a leader in fundraising among the many programs around the globe, and in 2016 raised more than $3.7 million for the athletes of Special Olympics New Jersey.
Fundraising events that are conducted year-round in New Jersey include:
- An Adopt-a-Cop campaign for the annual Torch Run
- Three Polar Bear Plunges
- The Lincoln Tunnel Challenge 5K
- The United Airlines Plane Pull
- Golf outings
- and more!
In addition to fundraising, Law Enforcement officers volunteer at athlete competitions and events year-round, while serving as ambassadors in local communities.
For more information on the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics New Jersey, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.