Northrup Memory Burns Bright at Torch Run

By Ron Fanfair

Ron Fanfair


Office of the Chief

The 35th annual Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) for Special Olympics Ontario was dedicated to the memory of Detective Constable Jeffrey Northrup, who died in the line of duty last July.

Hundreds gathered for the run and walk starting at Toronto Police Headquarters on June 23, to support Special Olympics athletes.

“It is gratifying to look out and see so many members of the law enforcement community here and our partners joining with us as we not only celebrate 35 years of the Torch Run, but sadly we are here today to remember Detective Constable Jeffrey Northrup,” Chief James Ramer said. “Jeff’s service and sacrifice will never be forgotten. His unshakeable commitment to his family and Special Olympics are the reason so many of you have shown up here today.”

Northrup’s widow, Margaret Northrup, and their three children attended the ceremony outside police headquarters that preceded the run and walk.

He was a longtime Special Olympics coach and supporter.

“I am especially humbled that today’s event is in honour of my late husband,” she said. “As you may know, Special Olympics has been an important part of our daughter Samantha’s growth and development throughout the years. Starting with swimming when she was younger to currently playing tee ball in the summer, Samantha has gained confidence, pride in her accomplishments and many friendships through the years.”

People standing in matching Torch Run t-shirts
Chief James Ramer and the Northrup family with Special Olympics Ontario athletes kicking off the Torch Run Photo: Brent Smyth

Northrup said her husband was very proud of their daughter’s progress in socializing, her athleticism and her enhanced willingness to try anything.

“It was not always easy,” she added. “As a parent with a Special Abilities child, I appreciate the dedication and commitment of our coaches and volunteers. Without them, there would be no Special Olympics. As a coach, I appreciate the athletes – the commitment, perseverance, pride, their high-fives and their smiles. They teach me how to live life to the fullest. I can still hear Jeff encouraging and cheering on the field for every single athlete.”

Glenn MacDonell, Special Olympics Ontario President, said the LETR stands out among the best in the world.

“I have been around the world and seen a lot of torch runs, but nobody has a program like ours,” he said.

Several cheques were presented at the ceremony.

The Toronto Police Services Board, the Toronto Police Association and CIBC World Markets each contributed $5,000, the Senior Officers’ Organaization and the Toronto Police Credit Union donations were $500, the Toronto Police Amateur Athletic Association contributed $6,000 and BMO made a presentation of $10,000. Service members bought T-shirts to support the run.

People walking behind police horses
Police officers escorted walk and run participants on bicycles and horses Photo: Brent Smyth

Gallagher Canada Area President Sara Beech announced that her company is the premier sponsor for the LETR. They became a sponsor during the pandemic.

“We are so impressed with the commitment of the athletes and coaches and I am so proud to be here in person with my colleague to celebrate this year’s event,” she said. “We look forward to doing some amazing things together.”

The Torch Run came to Canada in 1987 when Constable Lorne White organized the first event.

The LETR is the most important fundraiser for Special Olympics Ontario.

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