Torch Icon Campaign nearing final stretch before Special Olympics

Torch Icon Campaign nearing final stretch before Special Olympics (Image Source: Erin MacPherson, CBS12)

The biggest campaign for Florida Special Olympics is on its final stretch.

The campaign is called the Torch Icon Campaign, put on by Publix and local law enforcement agencies.

For 2017, Florida ranked #1 in fundraising for the Special Olympics. Three quarters of that money came from the Torch Icon Campaign.

This year, four days were cut from the campaign.

“We’re worried those four days would translate into about a million dollars in lost donations so we’re trying to get the word out this year,” said Rick Schichtel from the Port St. Lucie Police Department.

Schichtel said helping the Special Olympics “started off as an assignment and that assignment quickly grew into something I absolutely love doing. I really want to do as best I can because the athletes, once you meet them, you fall in love with them.”

CBS12 met two of those athletes today.

Stephen LaPure, also known as Mr. Hollywood, said “Special Olympics Florida has been the labor of love for me.”

He’s been competing for two years in basketball, golf and track and field.

“I’ve got the relay and the 100 meter dash and shotput as well,” said LaPure.

He said he likes to play for fun, but winning doesn’t hurt. LaPure had a board full of ribbons and medals.

“This is a third place that I got at the state games at the Walt Disney Resort in Florida last year,” as LaPure pointed to his board of medals.

Chad Johnson is another athlete and a spokesperson for the Special Olympics. He’s been involved with the organization for 35 years.

He said he competes in a handful of events but his favorite part is helping others.

“Help them get to the county games and area games. I just love them and it’s my life. This is what I do,” said Johnson.

Saturday is the last day for the Publix Torch Icon Campaign but there are a few other events coming up.

The Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Florida is on April 14, 2018.

For more information about the Special Olympics Florida or any upcoming events, head over to their website.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off