March 17, 2019
2019 Abu Dhabi Final Leg Team
Dear Final Leg Team Members;
I hope you all had smooth travels back home and you will now have some time to catch up on some sleep!
You are all now members of an elite club of Final Leg Team members! The reason that this is an elite club is because there will be no way that you will ever be able to fully express the experiences that you had on the Final Leg. There is no way to describe the excitement, the emotions, and the camaraderie that we shared. Only other Final Leg’ers will understand. These experiences on the Final Leg are the fuel for the Flame of Hope for our continuing efforts! Throughout our Final Leg journey, the athletes on our team were our inspiration and guiding light! Brendan, Chaica, Daniel, Hung Cheong, Mohammed, Paul, Sherrie, Stephen, Ryan and Zechariah, THANK YOU, you were all amazing and true ambassadors for the Special Olympics movement!
There were long days and short nights on the Final Leg, but each minute spent with the people of the UAE and our teams was invaluable. Without a doubt, our mission to increase awareness of Special Olympics and excitement for the 2019 Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi were an outstanding success, and each of you did an amazing job! However, our mission is not complete. We must take our experiences, and our understanding of our UNITED worldwide Law Enforcement Torch Run efforts, and spread the word in our home states and countries. We must not only keep the Flame of Hope burning, we must add fuel to make it brighter so that this will be the guiding light for individuals with intellectual disabilities who have yet to experience the miracles of the programs of Special Olympics. We must build upon our experiences and create more awareness for Special Olympics and the Torch Run, and we must come up with creative ideas to raise more funds through our Torch Run efforts.
Our Torch Run efforts to benefit Special Olympics allow us to see the good in people. Our Torch Run efforts allow us to witness truly deserving individuals with intellectual disabilities who are working so hard and are so determined to live up to the Special Olympics athlete’s oath in everything they do; “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.” Our Torch Run efforts have allowed us to witness the miracles of Special Olympics and allow us to see the results of our hard work and dedication to the “movement” through a handshake, a smile, or even a hug from a grateful Special Olympics athlete who thinks you are a hero for what you do. The truth is, they are the heroes and they give back to us much more than we
could ever give to them! Please consider this…..”We never know what miracles are right in front of us! Remember, often times things are not as they seem to be. Things can change instantly with the “change” of perception.” –Michelle W. Seasons — Each and every one of you are responsible for changing perceptions, the perceptions of our citizens with intellectual disabilities, and thus, YOU are responsible for making miracles happen!
You now have a common bond with 122 other Final Leg’ers from around the world. Each of your 122 brothers and sisters in the 2019 Abu Dhabi Final Leg is a resource for your individual Torch Run efforts. Don’t hesitate to contact me or any one of the other Final Leg’ers to get ideas or share a success story for a fundraiser. We can all learn from one another and quite honestly, we can save a lot of time and effort not having to “re-invent the wheel” on various fundraising and awareness projects, by networking with one another.
A special THANK YOU goes out to Chief Richard LaMunyon who traveled all the way to Abu Dhabi with his lovely wife, Sharron, to see the Final Leg team and particpate in Opening Ceremonies. It was great to have Chief LaMunyon speak to us at our Team Dinner about the humble beginnings of the Torch Run 38 years ago, and show us what can be achieved through determination and commitment along with a healthy dose of tenacity thrown in! From $300 raised in the first year of the Torch Run in 1981 to over $733 million dollars collectively raised as of 2017, we have come a long way in support of Special Olympics. I’m sure everyone was encouraged and inspired by the Chief and will help insure that we meet his challenge of raising a total of ONE BILLION collective dollars for Special Olympics by our 40th anniversary in 2021.
Chief Richard LaMunyon
Founder, Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics
Speaking of raising money, I want to thank everyone once again for your hard work and commitment in raising money through the Abu Dhabi Dip. Our team was absolutely incredible in raising over $382,000 through this fun, fundraising initiative in the desert, a true, solar/polar plunge! The Abu Dhabi Final Leg team has set the Final Leg fundraising record and you should all be very proud! In the past three Final Leg events with a Plunge, Splash and a Dip, our team members have raised a total of $833,000 for Special Olympics!!!!
This event was also designed as an example of how you can conduct a very successful, yet very simple, small scale event with little infrastructure and expense; a blow-up pool, water and ice, and raise a significant amount of money for Special Olympics!
Our TOP TEN fundraisers were: Our Team Rankings were:
|Ian Parkinson||$41,661.05||Team #6||$73,424.31|
|Bill Proll||$30,167.53||Team #3||$60,939.34|
|Brendan Burke||$28,142.39||Team #8||$52,279.66|
|Sheri Lucas||$21,295.14||Team #2||$40,263.93|
|Olivia Contreras||$16,810.52||Team #1||$33,871.48|
|Michael Peek||$15,103.45||Team #5||$23,418.84|
|John Clifton||$12,324.34||Team #4||$22,841.59|
|Paul Asaro||$10,000.00||Team #10||$21,032.62|
|June Worden||$ 8,669.75||Team #7||$20,964.37|
|Dwane Pacheco||$ 6,491.92||Team #9||$17,935.50|
Chief LaMunyon (center) taking the Abu Dhabi Dip with Ian Parkinson (left) the highest law enforcement member
fundraiser and Brendan Burke (right) the highest Special Olympics athlete fundraiser
The incentive torches earned by our team members are being produced and should be shipped in the next 30-45 days!
I hope to see many of you at the International Law Enforcement Torch Run Conference in Aurora, Colorado where we will have a Final Leg presentation at the conference and will be bringing the attending Final Leg Team members up on stage to be recognized.
September 19-21, 2019
Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center Aurora, Colorado
For more information on the conference, please go to: http://www.letrconference.org
From Abu Dhabi to Ras al Khaimah and everywhere in between, we showed the UAE and the WORLD that “We are the Torch Run, mighty, mighty Torch Run.” On behalf of the citizens worldwide who are able to benefit from the programs of Special Olympics because of what YOU do,
The Final Leg video that was shown at the Team Party is now available through this link:
Photographs and videos that our Documentation Team produced are available for viewing and download at letrphotos.smugmug.com
The Flame of Hope is burning brightly in the UAE!
Take good care and keep the Flame of Hope burning brightly around the world!
All the best,
John Newnan Team Captain
2019 Abu Dhabi Final Leg