Tammie Staples’ Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) journey began in 2003 when a new constable at the time asked her to help out with Special Olympics duties. “We involved local kids in our community to ride on a float as we ran with the torch through the town, supporting LETR and Special Olympics,” said Tammie. After moving into a Community Liaison position with the Port Hope Police Service (PHPS), part of Tammie’s role was to be very active with LETR, arranging the Torch Run between towns each year. Having the opportunity to arrange LETR events as well as attend them has truly been a delight for Tammie. “I took great pride in attending these events and each year took my husband, and then my son and mother who joined me in the events,” said Tammie.
LETR’s mission is to raise awareness and funds for the Special Olympics movement. As Tammie noted, “I took pride in this statement and wanted to ensure the Port Hope Police continued on this path.” Although it may be hard to keep members of law enforcement engaged as they wear so many hats, the work Tammie does as Community Liaison Officer in conjunction with her LETR role allows her encourage others to continue their involvement with Special Olympics. “It is so amazing to have a relationship that continually grows and evolves in the name of Special Olympics,” said Tammie.
When Tammie attended her first Special Olympics event in Peterborough, she found out just how life-changing being a part of LETR was. “I had no idea the crowd in the room made it so exciting to be a part of the line-up of vehicles,” expressed Tammie. “The athletes were cheering, crying, and being so moved by what law enforcement was doing,” she continued. From that point on, Tammie knew why being a part of LETR was important.
Tammie’s passion for the Special Olympics movement has brought on many other supporters during her 18 years of amazing work within LETR. Still, she encourages others to get involved. “Others need to feel how special it is to be part of this global organization and what it feels like to be supporting Special Olympics,” said Tammie. “Regardless of what has happened to the athletes in their life, they always have a smile and are so happy to be a part of this program,” continued Tammie. “I cannot forget to say the benefit of being part of this team is the relationships within families and meeting other families. This contributes a deep sense of connection.”
The efforts from Tammie and the LETR team in Port Hope and surrounding areas have been extremely instrumental within the Special Olympics movement, supporting all 26,000+ athletes across Ontario.