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Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics
The Law Enforcement Torch Run® (LETR) for Special Olympics is the largest year-round public awareness and grass-roots fundraising campaign for Special Olympics. Known as Guardians of the Flame, law enforcement members and Special Olympics athletes carry the Flame of Hope into the Opening Ceremony of local competitions, and into Special Olympics State, National, Regional and World Games. Annually, more than 110,000 dedicated and compassionate law enforcement members carry the “Flame of Hope,” symbolizing courage and the celebration of diversity, uniting communities around the globe. Here in North Carolina, nearly 2,000 law enforcement personnel support nearly 40,000 Special Olympics athletes and the NC LETR by raising over $1 million annually!
For more than 20 years, the Apex Police Department has helped raise over $315,000 and has become known throughout the state and country as a outstanding partner for Special Olympics and the Torch Run.
The LETR for Special Olympics engages law enforcement worldwide, championing acceptance and inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities, starting first with their own communities. Over the years, the Torch Run has evolved and now encompasses a variety of innovative fundraising events. The Apex Police Department participates in many of these events.
T-shirt and merchandise sales generate approximately 10% of the $1 million raised annually by the Torch Run in NC. Each year a unique T-shirt design is sold statewide by Law Enforcement Officers. The minimum donation for a t-shirt is $20. Other items such as hats, Polar plunge towels, blankets, and beanies are also available for a minimum donation. You will often find members of APD at community events, festivals, and other Torch Run events soliciting donations for the high quality merchandise.
Each May, the APD participates regional Torch Run relays by carrying the "Flame of Hope" through Apex and beyond. Officers, Special Olympics athletes, and citizens run a 4-5 mile leg of the 2,000 mile journey that takes the "Flame of Hope" across North Carolina. This journey brings the torch to Raleigh for the Final Leg and the opening ceremony of the Special Olympics Summer Games.
Held in September of each year, the APD hosts a Best Ball style golf tournament. Participants compete in teams of four to see who will bring home bragging rights. The event concludes with an awards lunch and silent auction.
Officers sit on top of a building in a high traffic location, such as Chick-fil-A, and draw people to the area while other volunteers solicit funds from patrons. Each year we hold a Cops-on-Top event at our local Chick-fil-a where several hours on top of the building raising money and awareness for the NC LETR.
We dive into icy cold water at a local pool to take the Polar Plunge challenge.
A Tip-a-Cop event is a great was for law enforcement officers to get into the community and be able to interact with the public in a one-on-one setting. The APD partners with Red Robin where our officers work with the traditional waitstaff to serve as “celebrity” waitstaff and help with duties such as refilling drinks and bringing out food while talking to the customers about Special Olympics and the Torch Run. At the end of the meal, officers ask for donations for Special Olympics in addition to any tip that would normally be left for the wait staff.