Danielle Martin receives Torch Run’s highest honor

posted Thu, Apr 14, 2016 by Jon Buzby

Det. Danielle Martin poses for a photo with Chris Truono (Athlete of the Year) and Chief Bobby Cummings (Wilmington Police Dept).

Detective Danielle Martin of the Delaware State Police has logged a lot of miles and put in many hours for Special Olympics Delaware.

Her involvement with the Special Olympics Torch Run began more than a decade ago when she was asked in 2005 by a colleague to help go door to door to local businesses soliciting ads for the organization’s annual yearbook.

That same year Martin ran several miles in her first Torch Run as one of hundreds of police officers who participate each year in the 160-mile trek from Rehoboth Beach to Newark.

The following year she drove to Dulles, Virginia, and attended her first Law Enforcement for Special Olympics (LESO) Regional Conference. It was at that conference where she learned how she could become even more entrenched in the movement and when she returned to the First State, immediately began participating at sports events as part of the opening ceremonies and medal presentations.

“I quickly became engaged in the enthusiasm of the athletes when they receive their well-deserved medals,” Martin said of her initial experience.

From that point forward, her involvement increased and her journey continued, including her role as a member of the Final Leg at the 2014 USA Games in Princeton, New Jersey.

“That was such an honor,” Martin recalled of running alongside the athletes while carrying the Flame of Hope through New Jersey. “I was able to interact with the athletes on a daily basis and hear the stories of their challenges and triumphs. I got to know them and see firsthand how important and life-changing Special Olympics has been for them. It was just an unforgettable experience. It was an experience that reinforced my commitment to Special Olympics and the Law Enforcement Torch Run.”

And now Special Olympics Delaware has formally recognized that commitment. Martin has been named the recipient of Delaware LESO’s highest honor, the 2016 Winnie Spence Torch Runner of the Year.

“Danielle is the quintessential Torch Run volunteer and unsung hero,” Delaware LESO state director John Miller said. “She is very quiet, hardworking and determined. She knows how to get things done.”

“Being recognized as the Winnie Spence Torch Runner of the Year is such an incredible honor,” Martin said. “I feel as though I was chosen to join an elite group of those who have shared the same honor.”

Martin continues her involvement in soliciting ads for the Year in Review each spring. In addition, she has served as a Kent County leg coordinator for the Torch Run and been a member of the LESO executive committee since 2010. She also volunteers at several fundraising events and, in 2011, raised more than $1,000 so she could rappel 17 stories as part of the inaugural Over the Edge event. 

“She just wants to make things better for the program and to give everyone in law enforcement the opportunity to be involved in our efforts on behalf of Special Olympics Delaware,” Miller added. “She loves everything about her involvement with us.”

Martin was presented with the award on April 12 at the Delaware Police Chiefs Council meeting at Dover Police Department.

“Knowing that I was selected by my peers to represent all of Delaware’s law enforcement officers at the Summer Games truly means the world to me,” Martin said.

Martin now has the honor of delivering the “Flame of Hope” to the SODE Athlete of the Year, Chris Truono, at the Opening Ceremony of the 2016 Summer Games.

“Sharing the honor and privilege of carrying the ‘Flame of Hope’ with the Athlete of the Year at the Opening Ceremony while hearing the roar of the crowd filled with athletes, their families, law enforcement officers and other spectators will be such an adrenaline rush,” Martin said. “It will definitely rank at the top of my list of thrills in life.”