11 year old Boy Bikes 47 Miles in the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Wisconsin

July 1, 2013

When 11 year old Austin Veeser heard that his friend, Tammy Szydel, a Special Olympics Wisconsin (SOWI) athlete, would compete in the softball throw and the 50-yard dash at the 2013 State Summer Games in Stevens Point, he knew he had to find a special way to show his support.

On Thursday, June 6, Austin took the day off school—with his parent’s permission—to bike 47 miles from the Oneida Police Department to the Holiday Inn in Stevens Point as part of the Final Leg of the Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) for SOWI. Tammy rode in a car alongside the biking team, cheering them on the entire way.

“It felt exhilarating and exhausting at the same time,” said Austin.

In addition to Tammy’s words of encouragement, the pledges he received from friends and family helped Austin power through the seven hour journey.

“Several people pledged money based on how far he rode, so he had the incentive of raising more money.  That incentive helped keep him going,” explained Austin’s father, Investigator Jason Veeser from the Kewaunee Sherriff’s Department.

Most individuals would train before embarking upon a nearly 50-mile bike ride, but the Veeser’s used a different strategy.

“We just rode until we were all tired. My wife and I would take turns riding with Austin,” said Jason. “He was determined to ride as far as he could.”

This isn’t the first year Austin has gone the distance. Last year, he biked 35 miles and made himself a promise to increase his mileage every year.

“We allow him to take off school to participate as long as he keeps his grades up,” said Jason. “It’s a great incentive for him to get good grades in school.”

And there is nothing quite like the reward that comes from testing your limits and helping others.

“Seeing the smile on [Austin’s] face was priceless,” said Jason. “It was a great feeling knowing how happy he made our friend (Tammy) feel.”

Austin was one of hundreds of individuals who participated in the 2013 Final Leg of the LETR. Participants biked, ran, and roller bladed from more than 30 different kick-off points across the state and all converged in Stevens Point for the SOWI State Summer Games Opening Ceremony.

The Kewaunee Sherriff’s Department has participated in the LETR since its inception in 1986. Thank you to all the participants of the LETR who raise funds for and awareness of the Special Olympics movement year-round.  Thank you also to the LETR statewide partners: Kwik Trip, Dunkin’ Donuts, Fox Sports Wisconsin, Texas Roadhouse, and the Wisconsin Professional Police Association. The support of the LETR enables nearly 10,000 athletes in Wisconsin to experience the transformative power and joy of sports. Click here to view this year’s LETR Hall of Fame winners.

Photo Caption: Kewaunee County LETR participants (left to right front row) Paul Berkovitz, Mary Berkovitz, Austin Veeser, Tammy Szydel.  (Back row left to right) Ryan Vandermoss, Matt Joski, Rick Karman, Dusty Smidle, Jason Veeser, Candi Veeser.

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to Inspire!

Join our mailing list to receive regular updates!