Honor Upon Honor, a $70 Million Dollar Journey as Guardians of the Flame


In the heart of Chicago, at the 2023 Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) International Conference this past weekend, officers from around the globe, who have vowed to serve and protect all members of their communities, were celebrated for their achievements and contributions to creating a more inclusive world.

The LETR for Special Olympics is a year-round commitment and the impact is on the global scale. This movement champions acceptance and inclusion for individuals with intellectual disabilities and raises critical funds for Special Olympics programming.

LETR is responsible for carrying the Flame of Hope to the Opening Ceremony of Special Olympics competitions, state games, and holds large-scale fundraisers to benefit Special Olympics athletes.

But, it is more than merely a run and a fundraising arm.

It’s a movement.

And here in Illinois, we have the highest net fundraising program in the world.

There are nearly 3,000 officers, employees, and volunteers involved with Illinois LETR. And this Illinois LETR program accepted two prestigious awards at the international conference this weekend. First, the aforementioned highest-net fundraising program worldwide and then being selected for the distinguished Guardian Award.

Receiving these top global honors is even sweeter in our sweet home Chicago.

The Illinois program raised more than $4.5 million in 2022, making it the top net fundraising program on the global level. Since its inception in 1986, LETR for Special Olympics Illinois has raised more than $70 million for the program. “We are immensely grateful to our law enforcement partners for their extraordinary dedication and hard work to make this program a tremendous success and the premier program in the world,” says Pete Beale-DelVecchio, President & CEO, Special Olympics Illinois.

The program also earned the 2023 Guardian Award. This award is granted to one program each year for its outstanding contribution to the true mission of LETR and guarding the Flame of Hope with utmost respect. Beale-DelVecchio continues, “receiving these top honors spotlights their commitment to our mission, and their remarkable efforts make a profound difference in the lives of our athletes, their families, and the communities they serve.”

The LETR for Special Olympics Illinois is led by Director, Sergeant Bill Devine. “We are so proud … It is an honor to receive these awards, but it’s not only about raising funds, it’s about fostering a spirit of inclusion within our communities,” said Devine.

You can learn more about how to get involved with the Illinois LETR on our website.

The International LETR Conference was sponsored by Coca-Cola, Gallagher-Bassett, Geiger, and MTM Recognition.