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Torch Run supports the passion for Special Olympics

'Just being part of Special Olympics is fun'
Beverly Phippen and Merv Shantz stretch prior to the Torch Run. Photo by Chris Dawson/BayToday.

Merv Shantz stands in the back parking lot of the North Bay Police headquarters. 

The longtime North Bay officer asked Beverly Phippen, a local Special Olympic athlete to stretch the group prior to the start of the Law Enforcement Torch Run which took place Tuesday morning. 

Shantz has been involved in the Law Enforcement Torch Run and Special Olympics in North Bay since the early 2000s. As Games Manager, he headed North Bay's group that hosted the Ontario Special Olympic Winter Games in 2015. 

"It just became something I grew to love," said Shantz. 

"It is a passion that I have running the torch run every year. It gives you perspective and they are part of the community that should be recognized."

Phippen has been involved in the Torch Run and Special Olympics for 30 years.   

The 57-year-old weightlifter has been to four Special Olympic World Games. She says one of her biggest highlights was meeting Arnold Schwarzenegger. 

"We are able-bodied, but in our own unique way, and that is how I find Special Olympics," said Phippen. 

"Just being part of Special Olympics is fun." 

Scott Tod, North Bay's Police Chief, says the Torch Run creates awareness for Special Olympics in the community. 

"It promotes some fundraising for these athletes and their endeavours of representing our community across Ontario and some of them go internationally as we have seen in the past," said Tod.  

The Ontario Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) is the largest public awareness vehicle and grass-roots fundraiser for Special Olympics. Worldwide annually, more than 97,000 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. Since its inception, the LETR has raised more than $46,000,000 and changed millions of attitudes.

More information about the Law Enforcement Torch Run, including how to make donations in support of Special Olympics, can be found online at


Chris Dawson

About the Author: Chris Dawson

Chris Dawson has been with since 2004. He has provided up-to-the-minute sports coverage and has become a key member of the BayToday news team.
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