Five years ago, Sgt. Greg O’Connor of Peel Regional Police was approached by his former supervisor Kevin MacBean about volunteering with the 2017 Special Olympics Ontario Provincial Summer Games being hosted by Peel Regional Police. Greg helped to organize a fundraising hockey tournament to raise money for the games, and immediately saw the benefits that his actions had on the athletes.
Greg says that being part of the Law Enforcement Torch Run has allowed him to build relationships and community engagement over the years, and is amazed by the group of supporters and partners who will “volunteer at the drop of a hat time after time”. He continues “once you attend one event, you will understand why we all do what we do.”
O’Connor says that “seeing the smiles and support by being engaged at different functions and events” is what keeps him coming back, knowing that the time and effort being put it benefits athletes and their families in such an impactful way.
Going back to the 2017 Provincial Summer Games, Greg says that running into the opening ceremonies with the hundreds of other Torch Runners “was my feel-good heartfelt moment – you run into a packed arena of athletes and their families, and they are so elated as you go in they treat you like a rockstar or superhero.”
Sgt. O’Connor goes on to encourage others to get involved with the Torch Run, saying “the money raised, time spent volunteering, and the relationships you will develop over the years will bring you great memories, and it gives an outlet and support system for all those involved.”
A big thank you goes out to Greg for his continued involvement with the Torch Run – we hope to see you running the Flame of Hope into a competition soon!