For the last 17 years, Lynette Wells has participated in the Law Enforcement Torch Run, an event that supports the Special Olympics program.
The manager of protective services with the Office of the Chief Risk Officer recently returned from the Summer Special Olympic World Games in Germany. For nine days in June, 7,000 athletes from 190 countries competed in 26 sports.
Ms. Wells shared a bit about her volunteer work and her trip with the Gazette below.
SWF: Can you explain the Law Enforcement Torch Run and its connection to the Special Olympic Games?
LW: The torch run is an international organization where law enforcement officers carry the Flame of Hope as guardians of the flame to raise awareness and raise money for the Special Olympics. All money raised goes directly to the Special Olympics to support programs so the Special Olympic athletes can participate in sports. The torch run is responsible for carrying the torch into the opening ceremonies where we light the cauldron to officially start the games.
SWF: Can you share your history with the torch run and specifically what was your involvement in the most recent event in Germany?
LW: In Newfoundland and Labrador, the torch run started in 1989. I have been involved for the last 17 years and I’ve been the director of the Newfoundland and Labrador torch run for the last 10 years. I was nominated a couple years ago to attend the Sweden Special Olympics World Games prior to the pandemic to attend with the final leg team, which didn’t happen because of the pandemic. I was re-nominated last year to attend Berlin’s World Games and was selected along with five other Canadians and 94 officers from around the world.
SWF: From your perspective, why is the Special Olympics program important?
LW: Special Olympics is very important as it allows athletes to participate in sports and shows their abilities, not their disabilities.
SWF: Who did you travel with to Berlin?
LW: I travelled to Berlin as part of the final leg team on June 11 with Andrew Hynes, a Special Olympics athlete from the Mount Pearl Club. Andrew was one of 10 athletes selected worldwide to participate in the final leg.
SWF: What was your most memorable moment?
LW: The most memorable moment of the event was that we arrived in Germany as strangers and came home as a family of officers and athletes. There were so many smiles, high fives, laughs and “cold shiver” moments. It is such a happy, feel-good event and seeing all the athletes doing what they love was so rewarding. We had four athletes participate in the games from the province. All four came home with medals and it was so good to see Newfoundland and Labrador represented on the world stage.