Calling All Law Enforcement Personnel with Special Olympics Athletes in Family


The Illinois Law Enforcement Torch Run and Special Olympics Illinois Families Committee are looking to identify law enforcement personnel who have a family member with an intellectual disability and who would be willing to share their story.

“We are trying to identify people who have ties as both a Special Olympics family member and member of the law enforcement community,” said Katie Herriott, SOILL Director of Development-Torch Run. “We know there are many law enforcement officers in Illinois who have a relative currently involved or who could be involved in the program, but we don’t know their story yet.”

2015 Coaster Challenge KirschOne such family is the Kirsch family of Shorewood. Steve is a Deputy for the Will County Sheriff’s Police whose daughter competes in Special Olympics through Special Connections. Steve, along with his wife Chris, are the first LETR Family Liaisons and serve on both the Family and LETR State Committees.

“We have been asked many times why we are involved with Special Olympics Illinois and our answer is always ‘How could we not be?’ ” said Chris Kirsch. “Our experiences with SOILL have been incredible! Time and time again we have seen how Special Olympics has changed the participants in immeasurable ways, especially our daughter, Rikki. We feel very strongly about giving back both at local events and at a state level.”

The Kirsches see their involvement with the Law Enforcement Torch Run as an extension of their involvement with Special Olympics that provides them with source of support and inspiration. “Having a police officer and a Special Olympics athlete means we have two uniquely inspiring ‘families.’ We are able to relate to officers and directly share how their efforts impact the athletes.”

The Kirsches encourage all law enforcement families with Special Olympics athletes – whether son/daughter, sister/brother, aunt/uncle, cousin – in their families to share the story and help us inspire others.

If you’re interested in sharing your law enforcement/Special Olympics family story with us, please contact the Kirsches, Katie Herriott or Karen Milligan, Director of Families and Athlete Leadership Program. View a flyer on the Law Enforcement Torch Run Family Liaison program.