The John Michael Letz Award was established in December 1994 for the purpose of recognizing an individual whose unselfish efforts and contributions are directly responsible for the success of the Law Enforcement Torch Run® for Special Olympics
Missouri. It is our unsung hero award.
The Torch Run Committee elected to name this award after Mike because of his long-time efforts while serving on the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Dept. and who died from cancer. The St. Louis Trivia night fundraiser was his creation. It continues still today raising over $178,000 since its inception. The first recipient of this award was Ralph Biele, who was instrumental in starting Missouri’s Torch Run 29 years ago.
The criteria for recipients include:
-Responsible for significant fundraising results
-Participates in year-round support
-Exemplifies the Special Olympics mission
-Someone who is a visionary for the Torch Run,
-Someone whose source of motivation comes from helping the athletes and who shows sustained commitment over a period of time.
We have many who are Torch Run enthusiasts; most we don’t know. We don’t know them because they don’t do the work for the recognition – and that’s why they are deserving of the Letz Award. They are usually in the background working to do more.
About this year’s recipient:
Involved in the Torch Run for 17 years, first as a runner.
Is involved in fundraising in both local and statewide fundraising events
Volunteers to hand out medals at both local and state events
Organizes a Torch Run before the area Spring Games, involving all local law enforcement agencies and the local athletes
Serves as Region Coordinator working with recruitment and growing the LETR family in the Area; serving as Mentor to many.
After becoming the region coordinator, this region was awarded the Greatest Increase in Gross Dollars for 3 years in a row
Has been instrumental in growing the region’s torch run to include over 1,000 runners
Had the idea to bring the Polar Plunge to their region and has served as Committee Chair since its inception
Served as Missouri’s Final Leg Runner to New Jersey in 2014
In the words of his nominators: “This recipient not only takes on the responsibility of fundraising, but wants everyone to know what Special Olympics stands for and what it does for its athletes around the world. He is a true friend and champion of the Special Olympics MO family.”
It is my honor to present this award to a person who makes a big difference to his agency and his region; to the LETR family, and to SOMO’s athletes
Congratulations to the 2015 Letz “Unsung Hero” Award recipient: Lt. Steve Davis of the Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop I.