ALGONQUIN - The Algonquin police chief was recognized earlier this month for his international fundraising efforts with the Special Olympics.
Police Chief Russ Laine was honored with the 2013 Richard LaMunyon Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Hall of Fame award during a conference held Nov. 7-9 in Orlando, Fla.
Laine was presented with the award for his more than 20 years of service to the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics (LETR). He was instrumental in bringing the torch run to McHenry County, and his department has raised nearly $110,000 during the last five years for the Special Olympics.
"I was shocked by [the award]," Laine said. "I look at many of the other people in the hall, those are the leaders. They have served as my mentors and have done great things. It's very humbling."
Laine has served as torch runner, leg leader, state committee member, and board of directors member for the Torch Run, but it is his work on the international level that has created the most impact.
He served as vice president and president of the International Chiefs of Police, which has allowed him to use his contacts to spread the word about the Special Olympics torch run to leaders across the world, he said.
"It's really about getting other people involved," Laine said. "When you have the opportunity to interact with people with intellectual disabilities, it impacts you personally. [The Special Olympics] provides opportunities for them that unfortunately aren't always available to them in our society."
Laine was also a member of the LETR Final Leg Team at the 2007 World Games in China and played a key part of the torch lighting ceremony at the White House with former President George W. Bush earlier that year.
"People with intellectual disabilities aren't looking for a handout. They're looking for an opportunity," he said. "The Special Olympics allows them to learn about physical skills, social skills, interacting with others … It helps them grow as a people."
The LETR raised more than $46 million for Special Olympics Programs around the world in 2012 and has raised more than $461 million since its inception in 1981.