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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 OlympicsMissouri. 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.
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.
2016: Officer Amanda Geno, Lee's Summit PD2015: Lt. Steve Davis, MSHP Troop I 2014: Officer Jeff Fugett, MSHP Troop D2013: Officer Mark Wiesemann, Lee's Summit PD2012: Sgt. Mark Koeller, St. Louis County PD2011: Officer Jeff Cook, O'Fallon PD2010: Capt. Joe Chapman, Kansas City PD2009: Lt. Jim McNiell, MHSP Troop E2008: Capt. Don Spears, Belton PD2007: Sgt. Rick Hayes, St. Louis County PD2006: Sgt. Randy Werner, Jefferson City PD2005: Capt. Zim Schwartze, Columbia PD2004: Chief Jim McCart, Osage Beach DPS2003: Capt. Jim Moran, St. Louis Metro PD2002: Capt. Graham Burnley, Chesterfield PD2001: Janelle Waterman, MSHP Troop A2000: Major David Pudlowski, St. Louis County PD1999: Lt. Tim Goebel, Crossroads Correctional Center1998: Mary Branstetter, St. Ann PD1997: Chief Randy Boehm, Columbia PD1996: Sgt. Rich Banahan, St. Louis Metro PD1995: Major John Cira, Hazelwood PD1994: Lt. Col. Ralph Biele, MSHP