My Journey with the Flame of Hope

Katrina O'Reilly and Flame of Hope
Sgt. Katrina O'Reilly running with the Flame of Hope in Austria

Law enforcement members from around the world proudly delivered the Flame of Hope into Planai Stadium in Schladming, Austria on March 14. From this elite group of law enforcement members, Katrina O'Reilly, a dedicated Alberta member of the Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) proudly represented Canada and set off on the course for the Final Leg journey that ran the Flame of Hope through 49 cities and towns across Austria. O'Reilly shares her amazing journey after the World Games.

On March 2017, 84 police officers, and 10 Special Olympic athletes from around the world were chosen to take part in the Final Leg Torch Run for the Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria. I was very fortunate to have been chosen to be one of the Final Leg Torch Run team members.  One of 8 Canadian police officers representing 24 countries worldwide. I was incredibly honored to represent LETR in Alberta and Canada! I can certainly say that this was a personal and career highlight for me! 

Our Final Leg team ran carrying the Flame of Hope through 49 Austrian cities in 10 days spreading awareness for Special Olympics and excitement for the World Winter Games. To see the crowds of delighted school children and community members lining the streets in Austria as we would arrive in to each city was truly very impactful for me. Really there is no way to describe the excitement, the emotions and the camaraderie that I experienced.

Our team put on 2,900 collective miles, ultimately making our way to the opening ceremony of the World Winter Games in Schladming, Austria; safely delivering the Flame of Hope. 

Team Canada and Sgt. Katrina O'Reilly

The opening ceremony was truly amazing! 

I was able to track down Team Canada and of course Team Alberta! I was so very proud to be a Canadian cheering very loudly for all of our 148 Canadian Special Olympic athletes competing in winter games events. 

I want to take this opportunity to very much thank the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Alberta’s executive council and the operations committee, Special Olympics Alberta and Special Olympics Alberta-Calgary, the Calgary Police Association, the IPA Region 3 and many Special Olympics friends, coaches and CPS colleagues for supporting me in this amazing journey! 

I personally was able to raise $5,300 to help support the worldwide athletes who participated in the Final Leg run and our Alberta athletes attending the games. 

To the Special Olympics athletes and officers who were with me on the Final Leg run and those that come out to volunteer at our local LETR events, I thank you for sharing this experience with me. I’m sure you will agree that our LETR experience is a true story of success, love, respect, and commitment between law enforcement officers and Special Olympics athletes.

These experiences are the fuel for the Flame of Hope for our continuing efforts!

Thank you all very much!

Sgt. Katrina O’Reilly
Calgary Police Service