Corrections Week Spotlight: Robert Creighton

Name: Robert Creighton
Service/Agency: Ministry of the Solicitor General, Correctional Services
Rank/Title: Corrections Officer
Years with LETR: 8

How did you first get involved with LETR?
I first became a supporter of LETR through my Corrections Officer training in Hamilton, where we did our own run and fundraising in 2016. I call myself a supporter, but not an active participant, because I had only participated in that one run, and then continued to show support at a few other fundraising events throughout my near decade of employment. I can say that I truly became involved when I moved to Thunder Bay in 2022; I was offered an opportunity to attend an event at Boston Pizza, serving the public their meals in exchange for a portion of the profits to be donated to LETR Special Olympics. What I learned at that event was that the Special Olympics community came out in full force to show their support, expressing their gratitude for what we were doing for the community. During this event, I was able to network with the other law enforcement agencies supporting the cause, growing my contacts for LETR in Thunder Bay. Through those contacts, I was invited to attend multiple other LETR events such as a baseball game in the summer, track and field days, soccer events, fun multi-sport festivals and high five lines.

What has kept you involved in LETR to this day?
What’s keeping me involved today is that I’m able to help show support for the Special Olympics community and be the one to give them an opportunity to just be silly kids. I’m able to show the community that our officers care about each person in it, and I’m feeling very grateful that it’s bringing me closer with my new community. Seeing the happiness and enjoyment the children get out of the events makes it all worth it for me. From my involvement, I’ve essentially become the contact point for the newer members at the Thunder Bay jail looking to volunteer, helping others get involved too.

What does Special Olympics mean to you?
To me, the Special Olympics means providing an opportunity for kids to explore playing sports, trying new things, and gaining confidence in themselves by finding a new skill. I really enjoy the fact that the Special Olympics provides them with opportunities every child deserves, in the hopes that they find something they like doing and continue to play as they grow older. The Special Olympics provides a means to build lifelong memories and friendships and has become a pillar of support for families.

What is your favourite memory (or memories) during your involvement with LETR/SO?
My favourite memory was from the Boston Pizza event I had mentioned earlier, one of the families asked me to sit with them at their table while they had their meal. I had a great conversation with them about the opportunities that events like this provide for their son. Their family really made an impact on me, and it really opened my eyes to see the real experiences that our volunteer hours can provide for a child who may not otherwise get to have them.
Another one of my favourite memories was at a track and field event at Lakehead University, where I was waiting at the start line holding hands with a visually-impaired boy to help guide him down the track. A girl in a wheelchair, who didn’t have a law enforcement member with them, reached out and grabbed my other hand. The big happy smile on her face reminded me how important these events are to the kids, and really warmed my heart.

Why should others get involved with the LETR?
Everyone should get involved because, at the end of the day, it’s extremely rewarding. You’re assisting in providing a safe environment for the athletes to develop skills, confidence, friendships, trust, teamwork, and having a ton of fun while doing it.
This program brings people from all walks of life together, strengthening your community. It’s a great way to meet people if you’re new to an area, like myself, or if you’re just looking for a meaningful way to spend an afternoon.