John Pellerin has gotten the opportunity to travel the world because of his involvement with the Nova Scotia Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR).
The next chapter in that special journey with the prestigious flame will be written in his hometown.
The Antigonish native will be one of those carrying the Special Olympics Torch – known as The Flame of Hope – July 31 for the opening ceremony of the 2018 Canadian Special Olympic Summer Games in Antigonish.
“To be part of such an organization makes me proud,” Pellerin said, in a recent email interview, noting law enforcement officers have been participating in the relay that brings the Flame of Hope to Special Olympics events since 1981.
“It began as a way to involve local law enforcement personnel in the community in a positive way.
“This has grown into the Special Olympic movement’s largest grass-roots fundraiser and public awareness vehicle, involving more than 100,000 law enforcement runners around the world,” he added.
Pellerin, a long-time RCMP auxiliary constable and now an enforcement officer with the Town of Antigonish, started his relationship with the Nova Scotia Law Enforcement Torch Run Committee in 2001.
His close friend, the late Tony Perry – a former staff sergeant with the Antigonish RCMP – asked him to participate. Perry was a member of the group.
“From day one, this journey has been so rewarding for me. I have experienced firsthand the importance of Special Olympics and also the role that law enforcement plays in supporting Special Olympics and its athletes,” Pellerin said.
“Special Olympics create invaluable contributions to the lives of athletes and those involved. I see the pride, courage, joy and friendships that these athletes display.”
Pellerin is a familiar face during Special Olympics’ events in Antigonish, whether it is the Eastern Highlands’ regional Games, or the multiple provincial competitions that have been staged on the St. F.X. campus in Antigonish.
“Every event brings out such joy and happiness,” Pellerin said, adding he has developed “great friendships” with athletes, both locally and globally.
“At Christmas time each year, I still receive a card and note from my good friend Josh Frost, a Special Olympic athlete from Australia, who was a member of our team when I attended the world games in Greece a number of years ago.”
Earlier this month, Deputy Chief Robin McNeil, Acting President of the Nova Scotia Chiefs of Police Association, announced that the LETR team will be leading a contingent of law enforcement torch runners from across Canada to bring the Special Olympic Torch – the Flame of Hope – to the aforementioned opening ceremony.
That journey to Antigonish, which will criss-cross the province, kicks off Friday (July 27), at 9 a.m., at Grand Parade Halifax, with law enforcement torch runners and Special Olympic athlete Erin Magee, who will make stops in selected communities and at historic places (see list below of location, dates and times).
The run will culminate in the lighting of the Special Olympic Cauldron, July 31, during the opening ceremony at St. F.X.’s Keating Centre.
“Our committee has put [in] time and effort to see that the torch reaches communities throughout our province leading up to opening ceremonies,” Pellerin said.
He described the opportunity for his home community to host the national Games as a “proud moment.”
“Antigonish is a special place and we are very fortunate to live here,” he said.
Pellerin said it will be an honour for him to participate in his role with the LETR committee.
“I definitely feel that everyone should get involved with Special Olympics and experience the magic.
“It is very rewarding,” he added.