Wyoming’s LETR has contributed about $1.93 million to that total since 1987 – with all local funds going directly to Special Olympics Wyoming, the organization said.
“The LETR for Special Olympics Wyoming has been instrumental in increasing awareness and offering fundraising support for our athletes around the state,” Special Olympics Wyoming CEO Jennifer Haines said. “We are extremely grateful for the support of our law enforcement community across Wyoming who volunteer so much of their time to help spread the message of inclusion through Torch Runs, presenting awards at competitions, arranging special fundraising events, and sharing their time with our athletes.”
The LETR is the largest public awareness and grassroots fundraising vehicle for local Special Olympics programs, according to the press release, and law enforcement officials represent the “single largest fundraisers for Special Olympics,” holding various events like Polar Plunges – or, in Wyoming, the Jackalope Jump – to raise funds and awareness globally for Special Olympics programs.
“Wyoming law enforcement has passionately volunteered many hours and personnel over the years to give back to Special Olympics athletes,” the press release states.
The LETR is a running event in which officers and athletes carry the Flame of Hope to the Opening Ceremony of Special Olympics Wyoming competitions, state/provincial Games, and National Summer or Winter Games, the press release states; in addition, every two years, law enforcement officers from around the world gather to carry the Flame of Hope in a Law Enforcement Torch Run Final Leg in honor of the Special Olympics World Summer or World Winter Games.
This year, retired Wyoming Highway Patrol officer Keith Groeneweg carried the torch for the Berlin, Germany, Final Leg, along with Riverton resident Lewis Fancher, who was able to share his Special Olympics story during the event and join fellow athlete and Riverton resident Luke Bappe.