Special Olympics Wisconsin (SOWI) athlete Martha Hill of Sheboygan has been involved with the organization for 17 years and currently serves as the athlete representative on the state committee for the Law Enforcement Torch Run® (LETR). She began competing in swimming but did not stop there. She continued in bocce ball, basketball, softball, tee ball, and golf, all while developing as a leader throughout Wisconsin and eventually the world.
Hill has been a Global Messenger for Special Olympics for 12 years. In 2007, she was one of 12 athletes chosen throughout the world to represent Special Olympics as a Sargent Shriver International Global Messenger. She was given the opportunity to travel to Shanghai, China to speak at the 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games, where she met Eunice Kennedy Shriver, her most memorable moment working with Special Olympics.
As if her involvement with SOWI wasn't enough, Hill was selected to represent Special Olympics on the International Law Enforcement Torch Run® Executive Council. She is only the fourth athlete to ever be chosen for the council and the first from Wisconsin. Hill feels inspired and empowered by the involvement of law enforcement officers.
"[LETR] give from the heart and spend countless hours year round working to support and sustain the Special Olympics Movement," says Hill. "Many of them have families of their own but they spend hours making life better for the athletes of Special Olympics. I have no words to thank them enough for all they do."
Lisa Walter, University of Wisconsin-Stout Chief of Police and Hill's mentor on the LETR state committee, talks about the first time she met Martha. "She was recommended to give a speech to a group of female law enforcement graduates of the FBI National Academy. I talked to her about how the academy experience was different from our "normal" lives. When she gave the speech, there wasn't a dry eye in the place," Chief Walter said. "She may be Tim Shriver's Smile Coach, but she is my life mentor. I try to emulate her in any way that I can. She was given what some call a disability, but I can't see it. She has been given the gift of passion for others and her own life that I could only hope to have some day."