Seymour police officers raise money for Special Olympics torch run

INDIANAPOLIS — Running along the streets of downtown Indianapolis, Jason Wynn and fellow law enforcement officers were greeted by several supporters.

At one point, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb stepped outside to cheer on the participants in the Special Olympics Indiana Law Enforcement Torch Run.

A little later, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett took time out of his schedule to briefly address the officers.

Other people in the downtown who saw the sea of yellow shirts led by the Flame of Hope recognized their efforts.

“It was neat doing the run, seeing the people come out of the buildings. Just everybody, bystanders coming out and cheering us on was pretty neat,” said Wynn, a 23-year veteran of the Seymour Police Department.

On Friday, nearly 100 officers from around the state gathered in Indianapolis and Terre Haute for the annual torch run, which has been conducted in the state since 1987.

The Law Enforcement Torch Run is so much more than a run. Agencies can coordinate any activity that raises awareness and funds for Special Olympics athletes and creates an enjoyable experience for law enforcement participants. The program is one that an agency can really have pride in making their own, according to

It’s the largest grassroots fundraising program benefiting Special Olympics throughout the world.

“This event raises $50 million every year, and since its inception, what you all are doing today is helping raise about $900 million worldwide,” Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Assistant Chief Chris Bailey said during opening ceremonies of Friday’s run that started at Victory Field in the state capital.

“You should all be very proud that you’re a part of that effort,” he said. “We appreciate your willingness to come here and support this important event.”

Special Olympics Indiana President and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Mohler echoed those comments.

“Thank you for all you do. Thank you for being here,” he said. “We so appreciate our friends in law enforcement across the state of Indiana. God bless you all.”

Special Olympics Indiana is a nonprofit organization that is part of the global Special Olympics movement, using sport, health, education and leadership programs every day around the world to end discrimination against and empower people with intellectual disabilities, according to

Founded in 1969, Special Olympics Indiana has grown to more than 18,000 athletes and unified partners in virtually every county throughout the state, including Jackson County.

With the support of more than 10,000 coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics Indiana provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in more than 20 Olympic-type sports for people ages 8 and up with intellectual disabilities at no cost to the participants.

Special Olympics Indiana receives no federal or state-appropriated funds, is not a United Way Agency and relies entirely on corporate, civic and individual donations.

For the Law Enforcement Torch Run, police officers registered online and set up fundraising pages to support the effort.

Wynn and another 23-year veteran of SPD, Chadd Rogers, signed up and raised funds, setting a goal of $250 apiece.

Even though the run is over, fundraising continues online at

On Friday, officers and other attendees had an option of a 3-mile run or a 1-mile walk. Wynn was among those on the run, and three Jackson County athletes did the walk.

Rogers wasn’t able to go to Indianapolis on Friday, but he ran 3 miles near his home in Seymour.

“It is great to be part of Special Olympics and to be involved with LETR. I look forward to running next year,” Rogers said.

Wynn is, too.

“I’m definitely looking forward to next year, hopefully get on the ball a little sooner as far as fundraising, do a little bit more on that,” he said. “Hopefully, we’ll get a few more participants within the PD and county, like Brownstown and the sheriff’s department, get a challenge, just get more participation. Hopefully, we get a little more interaction with the law enforcement aspect, get some more guys into helping out and participating.”

Wynn and Rogers plan to become involved in other aspects of Special Olympics, too. Rogers already is a member of the county management team in Jackson County.

“I go back to 4-H and Project Lifesaver and just helping out and being there, hopefully be a role model for some of the younger athletes that I talk to within the middle school and let them know that we’re there to help them,” said Wynn, the school resource officer at Seymour Middle School.

The Law Enforcement Torch Run is done ahead of the Special Olympics Indiana Summer Games, which will take place Friday through Sunday in Terre Haute. Athletes from around the state will participate in nine sports on the campuses of Indiana State University and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.

Jackson County will have athletes competing in track and field, bocce and horseshoes in the 52nd annual event.