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 $140,000 since its inception. There are Trivia Nights all over Missouri as well as in other states now as a result of the one started in St. Louis.
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
In 2011, Special Olympics Missouri honored Jeff Cook of the O’Fallon Police Dept. for the following reasons:
Involved in the Torch Run for 9 years
Has served as his agencies’ Torch Run Coordinator for 7 years directing his agencies’ fundraising efforts by selling t-shirts, and organizing events like Raffle sales, and Tip a Cop.
The first year he took over his agency fundraising totals increased 10 % and have continue increasing every year of the last 6 years
Whether it’s a high profile event like the Polar Plunge or a more relaxed effort like hosting Cops on Top, selling shirts, or raffle tickets within the agency – he is the one who gets things done.
Has championed the agencies Polar Plunge participation growing their team’s fundraising total each year – raising $88K in the last 2 years.
Coordinated a portion of the local route of the Torch Run running the torch personally and ensuring the event runs flawlessly
Their fundraising has grown as a result – during his 7 year tenure as Agency Coordinator, this agency has raised over $338,942!
Served for two years helping coordinate the law enforcement participating for the State Basketball Championship
Attends State Summer Games each year participating in Opening Ceremonies and staying for the opportunity to present medals.
As a member of the State LETR Committee, this officer impacts decisions at every turn.
According to his nominator: “This person brings great credit to himself, his family, the Police Department, the regional efforts of the LETR and to SOMO.
There is something deep inside this man that is touched by Special Olympics. He can’t help himself; his enthusiasm is evident in the personal pride he takes in conducting himself and his events with the utmost professionalism while serving the athletes with dignity and respect.
It is my honor to present this award to a person who makes a big difference to his agency, to the LETR and to SOMO athletes in the St. Louis Metro Area
While one legacy may be the orange visors – there are many and none more evident by the way in which he treats his “water crew” assignment at the State Summer Games.
The 2011 Letz “Unsung Hero” Award goes to – – Officer Jeff Cook – O’Fallon Police Dept.