LOS ANGELES(LASD)-Sheriff Jim McDonnell was recognized as the recipient of the “2016 California Sheriff’s Award of Excellence” for his support of Special Olympics Southern California – Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR). This honor was presented during the California State Sheriffs’ Associations Annual Conference on April 6, 2016, in Irvine. The award was presented by LETR Director Kimberly Unland, Special Olympics Global Messenger and Athlete Matthew Nakai, and LETR Executive Council Members Mike Hallinan of the Irvine Police Department and Richard Fernandez of Special Olympics Southern California.
Director Kimberly Unland said, “Sheriff McDonnell is a strong leader in the Special Olympics movement and a friend to many of our athletes. He actively participates in Law Enforcement Torch Run events and encourages others to get involved. He understands the power of volunteering and the positive impact it has on the lives of our law enforcement officers, athletes, and the entire community.”
About the Law Enforcement Torch Run of Southern California:
The beginning of the Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) in Southern California started 30 years ago, when a few officers picked up a torch, a map, and some running shoes and hit the pavement to raise funds and awareness for Special Olympics Southern California. Over the years, much has changed with LETR. In addition to carrying the “Flame of Hope” during the annual Torch Run, law enforcement officers now rappel down buildings, don aprons to collect tips, and jump in “chilly” waters. In 2015, Southern California’s LETR raised over 1.5 million dollars to provide opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities to participate in year-round sports training and competition. Special Olympics’ global reach expands to 4.4 million athletes. Over 80,000 events and competitions are held annually. Southern California accounts for over 24,000 athletes.