For 18 year Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) veteran Allen Schultz, it is pretty clear that his connection to the athletes of Special Olympics is the driving force behind his involvement with LETR. “Each and every time I hear an athlete tell their story at the Provincial Kickoff Conference, I get that lump in my throat. Their stories, our commitments and accomplishments through our events and money raised is so graciously satisfying that words cannot describe it.”
Schultz, a Sergeant with Hamilton Police Service, got his start with LETR in 2002 at a “Tip-A-Cop” event where Law Enforcement personnel serve lunch and dinner to customers while in uniform. Tips at the event go to support Special Olympics Ontario (SOO). This event just started the LETR journey for Schultz, who helped with all local events for years before joining Hamilton Police Service’s 10 person LETR committee in 2013. “At the time the committee was in its infancy when a friend contacted me with the idea of joining the committee and to assist him with creating a car show to benefit the Special Olympics.” This car show ended up becoming the incredibly successful ‘Cops N Rodders,’ event.
The ‘Cops N Rodders’ event began in 2015 with 225 cars on hand. Fast forward to 2019 and over 750 cars filled Bayfront Park in Hamilton with a focus on raising money for SOO. “We have the car owners coming up to us during the show and saying ‘thank you for doing this for Special Olympics.’ These car owners had no direct ties or connection to Special Olympics previously, but they do now. The crowd loves seeing our local athletes walking through the show just as much as the athletes love being there themselves. I (we) want to continue to promote the Special Olympics in this fashion.”
In addition to taking on a leadership role within the Hamilton Police Service LETR committee, Schultz has since taken on a leadership role within the Ontario LETR structure as he represents his whole region as a Zone Coordinator. As he reflects on his time with LETR, it is not hard to see the passion that keeps him involved with the movement. “How can you not get involved? There certainly is no shortage of charities out there asking for help, but when it comes to LETR, and you truly do get involved and you get to meet the athletes – you are hooked! They say Law Enforcement is ‘a calling,’ I say LETR is also ‘a calling.’ We are surrounded by many amazing people who make this organization what it is and I thank everyone involved.”
Everyone involved in LETR and SOO is truly thankful for the efforts of Sgt. Allen Schultz and the whole Hamilton Police Service committee. Their fundraising efforts and connection to the athletes of Special Olympics are a perfect example of all that is great with LETR and SOO.