Special Olympics (SO) has been a huge part of Chandal Sutherland’s life for the last 15 years. Starting as a coach, she credits the enthusiasm and drive of the athletes for keeping her involved. “Each athlete I’ve coached or met along my SO journey has left an impact. I don’t just help them, they have all helped me,” expressed Chandal.
Years later, Chandal was hired as a Correctional Officer at Algoma Treatment and Remand Centre. In her first year she took part in her first Torch Run in Thunder Bay. “I’ve been hooked on the high energy and rewarding feelings ever since.”
Chandal continues to coach and contribute as an Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) volunteer as well, which has allowed her to experience multiple sides of the movement. “I see first hand what the work we do with LETR does to help our athletes.” In 2019, she had the opportunity to coach the Sudbury Miners at the Invitational Youth Games in Toronto. She lists this as a landmark moment, “They won gold!!! I’ve never been more proud.” This was the perfect example of the type of emotion that the movement evokes “I’m sure there was sand in my eyes that day.”
As the leader she is, Chandal frequently encourages friends and colleagues to get involved with LETR. “People should consider volunteering with LETR because there is no better group of people. My LETR family are forever friends. We all have the same common goal, to provide all we can to we can to allow our athletes to grow and be included in sports.”
Chandal was presented with the Rising Flame award at this year’s Ontario LETR Kickoff Conference in Kingston, which acknowledged her exceptional promise of leadership and continued contribution. We would like to thank her and her fellow volunteers at the Algoma Treatment and Remand Centre for their contributions to Special Olympics Ontario!