Charles County coordinator personally raised $70,000 this year!!
Friday, November 3, 2017
By Charlie Wright
Special Olympics Maryland last week chose Sgt. Gus Proctor of Charles County as the state Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) representative for the upcoming USA Games in 2018.
Proctor, the Charles County Sheriff’s Office Special Olympics coordinator, will be part of the nationwide contingent of officials who will run the torch throughout the state of Washington the week prior to the games. The sergeant was selected by the Team Maryland Board of Directors based on his heavy involvement in local Special Olympics activities as well as his overwhelming success in fundraising. Proctor has served as coordinator since 2006, and his team has raised more than $400,000 in that span.
“For me, it’s all about the athletes,” Proctor said. “That’s what drives me. Those guys are fighting for inclusion, for acceptance. I just enjoy being a part of that and helping them get to that point, of seeking that inclusion.”
The LETR program was started at a Wichita, Kan., police department in 1981 by Police Chief Richard LaMunyon. The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) soon adopted the initiative, and Maryland officers first partnered with the Special Olympics in 1986.
“Special Olympics is the charity of choice for law enforcement internationally,” said Betsy Jiron, senior director of special events for Special Olympics Maryland. “In Maryland, law enforcement statewide raised almost $3 million for Special Olympics Maryland. We have over 7,000 athletes that train and compete for free year-round.”
Jiron added the primary fundraiser for the partnership is selling LETR T-shirts around Maryland, which generates around $200,000. Proctor himself sold approximately $70,000 worth of shirts this year, easily the highest mark in the state. In addition to raising money, officers are tasked with increasing visibility for the Special Olympics and its athletes. Proctor has helped out at nearby spring, summer and winter games, and recently held his third annual Zombie Invasion 5K Run in support of Special Olympics.
“We do a lot of fundraisers, but it’s also based on awareness,” Jiron said. “Law enforcement is out there presenting medals to our athletes at their Special Olympics games. It could be a local competition or a state competition. Their role in partnership with Special Olympics is to raise funds and to raise awareness for Special Olympics Maryland.”
Proctor credits the residents of Charles County with the success of fundraisers in the area. The zombie event alone raised about $10,000 a few weeks ago, and Jiron said the region accounts for a high percentage of statewide T-shirt sales.
“We have such huge community support in Charles County,” Proctor said. “We had the largest leg of the Torch Run in the state of Maryland, we have huge participation with the T-shirt sales and the Cops on Rooftops and the Zombie 5K. That’s what I really like about Charles County.”