Energy, comradery, teamwork, enthusiasm – these are all elements that Sarah Dereski experienced during her first Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) event that have kept her hooked ever since! Seven years ago, Sarah’s LETR involvement began through her participation in the Race for Plunkett in York, as well as the Polar Plunge at the Correctional Services College. “I knew there was no going back, and I was going to be a part of this fantastic organization and cause for life,” said Sarah.
While working as a Probation and Parole Officer for the Ministry of the Solicitor General (Ontario’s Correctional Services), Sarah had also become a dedicated member with LETR. “Being able to be a part of such a special organization that supports our athletes and shares their successes is indescribable,” said Sarah. While it has been extremely rewarding to be able to give back her surrounding community, her interactions with Special Olympics (SO) athletes have been especially meaningful. “Over the years, my interactions with the athletes have taught me so much on a personal level about bravery, commitment, dedication, teamwork and friendship – they are truly role models in their own right,” Sarah expressed.
From lifelong memories to incredible friendships, Sarah has accumulated both during her time with LETR. Recalling back to one of her favourite events, kicking-off games, Sarah noted that while running into the stadium with the LETR team, “I was randomly grabbed by an excited athlete who gave me the biggest hug and said ‘thank you for bringing us the flame, this is the best day of my life’.” Needless to say, this was quite an emotionally touching moment for Sarah. If you say otherwise, “I’m calling your bluff,” Sarah exclaimed. “My eyes immediately welled up and I then firmly understood that moments like that are exactly why we at LETR do what we do.”
Sarah’s passion for volunteering her time shined through as she reflected on her years of service with LETR. “It is so rewarding knowing that you are able to be a part of an organization that creates so much joy and opportunity for athletes with intellectual disabilities within our communities.” LETR has changed Sarah’s world for the better which is why she continually urges others to get involved. “It is one of those things that you really do NOT know what you are missing in your life until you become involved – it is truly magical.”
Thank you, Sarah, for all the hard work you’ve put in with LETR! Thanks to you and all the LETR volunteers from the Ministry of the Solicitor General, our athletes have and continue to see their dreams become a reality.