By Steffanie Costigan - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on November 30, 2023.
The Lethbridge Police Service, along with other Southern Alberta law enforcement agencies, are preparing to serve up slices of pizza in support of Special Olympics.
Officers will be staging the sixth annual Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) Cops, Pops and Pizza fundraiser Friday from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Lethbridge Mayor Magrath Drive South Boston Pizza.
LPS Constable Braylon Hyggen shared his excitement Wednesday about continuing fundraiser.
“It’s another Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics event fundraiser that we’ve been running for at least six years now here in Lethbridge,” said Hyggen.
Hyggen said officers will also be selling stuffed puppies and collecting donations for the Special Olympics.
“We’re back at it which is great because it coincides with the Teddy Bear Toss at the Hurricanes game that night. We’re also selling some new teddy bears, the stuffed puppies that we’ve always sold. We’ve got a new design this year which has German shepherds, Dutch shepherds, and Belgian malinois.”
The stuff puppies will be sold for $20 per piece at the Hurricanes game and will also be available for purchase at the LPS station.
Hyggen said Special Olympics has a long history with the International Chiefs of Police.
“Special Olympics has always been a chief charity of choice for the International Chiefs of Police. It’s a great event. We have a lot of Special Olympic athletes here in Lethbridge, as well as all over the province that we’d like to support.
“It is a worldwide movement. It was exciting this year that it was announced that the Law Enforcement Torch Run internationally since its inception has reached over $1 billion in funds raised for Special Olympics across the world,” said Hyggen.
Hyggen noted at the 2022 fundraiser LPS raised $4,200 and police hope to exceed that amount this year.
“Come by, grab a stuffy take it to the hurricanes game, throw it on the ice and grab one for yourself as well. (Such) great gifts for the upcoming Christmas season for your little ones,” said Hyggen.
He added the event takes place in many communities across Alberta and Canada. Hyggen said officers will not be the only ones serving pizza Friday – will be Special Olympic athletes will be there, as well.
“We’ll have Special Olympic athletes as well. They’re serving food, helping fill up drinks, just going around telling people why Special Olympics is important to them. Some will be wearing their medals from previous events. It’s just a great fundraiser to get out in the community and be part of doing something great.”
Hyggen also noted stuffed puppies will also be sold at the Polar Plunge in the new year.
Hyggen coaches a local Special Olympics basketball team and recently had the opportunity to participate in the Berlin Torch Run at the World Games.