BERLIN, Germany — Joel Wener of the Pepin County Sheriff’s Office has been selected to represent Wisconsin at the 2023 Special Olympics World Games Berlin Law Enforcement Torch Run Final Leg.
Wener will take part in the international Torch Run with fellow law enforcement members representing 42 states and 22 countries. Wener’s group will consist of representatives from Alabama, Kentucky, Missouri, New Hampshire, Nova Scotia (Canada), Berlin (Germany), Brandenburg (Germany), Czech Republic, and Korea.
“It is an honor to take part in such an important gathering of worldwide inclusive communities,” Wener said. “I am thrilled and humbled to represent the state of Wisconsin, its law enforcement community, and the athletes, families, friends, volunteers, and supporters of Special Olympics Wisconsin.”
The World Games Berlin Final Leg will commence with a Flame Lighting Ceremony on June 7 in Athens, Greece. The Torch will then arrive to host city Berlin, Germany, on June 13. Torch runs across the Eastern Germany and the greater Berlin metro will take place over the next four days, leading up to the World Games Opening Ceremony on June 17.
Wisconsin will be well-represented at the World Games Berlin, with athletes Peter Liu (swimming) and Chelsie Workman (athletics) and coaches Steve Meurett (athletics) and Bonnie Kahn (athletics) as members of the Special Olympics USA delegation. Special Olympics Wisconsin will also be sending games personnel to support the World Games.
The Law Enforcement Torch Run® for Special Olympics is the largest public awareness vehicle and grass-roots fundraiser for Special Olympics. Known as Guardians of the Flame, law enforcement members and Special Olympics athletes carry the Flame of Hope into the Opening Ceremony of local competitions, and into Special Olympics State, Provincial, National, Regional and World Games. Annually, more than 100,000 dedicated and compassionate law enforcement members carry the “Flame of Hope,” symbolizing courage and celebration of diversity uniting communities around the globe.
The LETR for Special Olympics engages law enforcement worldwide championing acceptance and inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities, starting first with their own communities. Over the years the Torch Run has evolved and now encompasses a variety of innovative fundraising platforms to include Plane Pull®, Polar Plunge®, Tip-A-Cop®, and more.
Since its inception, LETR has raised over 900 million dollars and changed millions of attitudes.
The LETR has been supporting Special Olympics World Games with a Final Leg since 1987.