LETR Event History and Facts
In 1981, Wichita Police Chief Richard LaMunyon joined forces with Special Olympics Kansas and conceived the idea for the first Law Enforcement Torch Run. Today, hundreds of thousands of citizens in the United States and more than 50 foreign countries can witness the Olympic Torch being carried by dedicated members of law enforcement through their communities on its journey to the Opening Ceremonies of the Special Olympics Summer Games in their corner of the world. Over the years Chief LaMunyon's inspirational idea has evolved into; the single largest fund-raising event and the most highly successful public awareness campaign in the history of Special Olympics.
Since its inception, the Law Enforcement Torch Run has raised more than $564 million dollars for Special Olympics. In 2015, the Louisiana Law Enforcement Torch Run raised over $322,787.
In Louisiana, the Law Enforcement Torch Run began in 1985 under the leadership of former Plaquemine Parish Sheriff, Ernest P. Wooton. A mere handful of officers carried the Olympic Torch to the Opening Ceremonies of the State Summer Games. Under the leadership of Sheriff William Earl Hilton, the Torch Run has grown to include approximately 2,000 law enforcement officers. These selfless individuals are appropriately named “Guardians of the Flame of Hope” and still, today, proudly carry the Olympic Torch. The Monday preceding the Special Olympics Louisiana State Summer Games, Law Enforcement Officers from virtually every corner of the state begin their 1,000 mile run to deliver the Olympic Torch to the Opening Ceremonies of the State Summer Games.
Law Enforcement Torch Run Executive Council
The Executive Council is made up of a variety Law Enforcement from different agencies and areas around the state. The sole purpose of this council is to oversee the management of the LETR activities.
Leadership for the LETR is provided by highly motivated and committed volunteers. These officers conduct fundraising events throughout the year and volunteer their time to educate the public about the capabilities of those with intellectual disabilities.
Torch Run State Director:
Chief Carl Dabadie
Baton Rouge Police Department
Executive Council Vice-Chair:
Major Ward Webb
Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office
Executive Council Members:
Officer Ninoska Guggenheim
Kenner Police Department
Officer Garet Aucoin
Slidell Police Department
Officer James Virgil
Kenner Police Department
Honorary Torch Run Committee:
Colonel Michael Edmonson
Superintendent Louisiana State Police; Deputy Secretary Department of Corrections
Colonel Joseph Broussard
LA Department of Wildlife Enforcement
Fire Marshal H. “Butch” Browning, Jr.
The Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office
Department of Corrections, Secretary
Executive Director Fabian Blache, Jr.
Louisiana Chiefs of Police Association
Executive Director Mike Ranatza
Louisiana Sheriff’s Association