By Steph Crosier, Kingston Whig-Standard
Sunday, November 12, 2017
KINGSTON – You may have met Const. Stacey Campbell before, if not while doing her job than likely during an event for Special Olympics. Sometimes she's pestering for pledges, running in the Law Enforcement Torch Run, or yelling her support as you jump into the icy cold waters of Lake Ontario in early February … but only before she jumps in, too.
After 26 years of supporting Special Olympics, Campbell is being recognized with the national Rob Plunkett Law Enforcement Torch Run Award for her efforts.
“I'm pretty honoured and very moved to be chosen to receive the award,” said Campbell, who is based out of the Napanee detachment of the OPP.
Campbell first got involved with the Law Enforcement Torch Run early in 1991, but it wasn't until she became a zone co-ordinator for Special Olympics Ontario (SOO) in 2003 that she fully understood what the movement was about.
“It wasn't until I got to meet the athletes, and the families of the athletes, that I realized how important the Law Enforcement Torch Run was,” Campbell said. “It was at that point when I became completely hooked.”
Campbell said the families of the athletes are overwhelmingly thankful.
“If it wasn't for the officers raising the fund that we do, [the athletes] wouldn't have the ability to compete in the sports that they do, and have the equipment, pay for transportation, registration, and everything they need,” Campbell said. “We're the largest fundraiser for SOO and this year alone we've raised just over $2 million collectively.”
In addition to raising awareness for Special Olympics and continuing to organize fundraising events throughout the year, in 2012 she was co-chair of the Special Olympics Ontario Spring Games in Kingston. Those games raised more than $1 million for the organization.
Campbell was notified of her win by Ottawa Police Chief Charles Bordeleau, who also told her it was a unanimous decision. Campbell was endorsed for the award by Glenn MacDonell, president and CEO of SOO, who described her as “a very organized, skilled, people friendly, passionate and very caring person who truly loves Special Olympics, her team and volunteer work with our organization.”
Chris Lewis, retired OPP commissioner and member of the board of directors for SOO, called her a “tremendous spark plug,” and Stephanie Beauregard, community co-ordinator for SOO in Kingston, wrote in her recommendation that “Stacey's tireless dedication and enthusiasm in support of our athletes, volunteers and coaches within our Kingston chapter inspires us all.”
Campbell said the athletes' spirit is her favourite part of supporting and being involved in Special Olympics.
“They come to every event or competition with such an open-minded open spirit [for] their competitors,” Campbell said. “They're so inclusive with themselves that it just makes me want to be more inclusive in every area of my life.”
Campbell will receive the award on Nov. 16 during a ceremony in downtown Toronto. She said receiving it doesn't mean the end of volunteering with the Law Enforcement Torch Run.
“This is just going to make me want to do it even more,” Campbell said.