Montana LETR Announces New Director

Montana LETR Announces New Director

On August 25, 2016 the Executive Committee of the Montana Law Enforcement Torch Run® (LETR) for Special Olympics Montana selected Undersheriff Jason Johnson with the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office to succeed Lt Jack Allen with the Great Falls Police Department as Torch Run Director, effective September 1, 2016.  While we will deeply miss Lt Allen’s leadership and passion for Special Olympics, Undersheriff Johnson comes with the leadership skills, experience and commitment to continue building on the strengths of the Torch Run.

After over 11 exemplary years, Lt Allen stepped down as the state-wide Director but will remain involved on a local and state-wide level, as well as serve on the International Torch Run Conference Planning Committee.  Lt Allen became involved with the Montana Law Enforcement Torch Run in 1998.  During his tenure, he has been a Leg Leader, Special Events Coordinator, Polar Plunger, Torch Runner, local volunteer and much more.  In 2005, he took on the role as the Director of the Montana Torch Run and under his leadership, the Torch Run has grown to become more than a $500,000 annual fundraising program.  Since 2005, the Torch Run has raised over $4.8 million dollars for Special Olympics Montana. In 2012, Lt Allen received the John Carion Unsung Hero Award during the International Torch Run Conference.  The John Carion Unsung Hero is someone who contributes to the Torch Run and Special Olympics in spirit, dedication and enthusiasm in an effective and unheralded fashion.  Lt Allen represented Montana during the International Final Leg in Greece in 2011 for the Special Olympics World Summer Games.  In 2004, he was selected as the Special Olympics Montana Volunteer-of-the-Year and in 2010 was a charter inductee into the 2010 Montana Torch Run Hall of Fame.  Lt Allen also served on the Special Olympics Montana Board of Directors.

During Lt Allen’s time as the Torch Run Director, he led Montana’s law enforcement in becoming the successful program that it is today, earning the highest honor any Torch Run program can receive – the Guardian Award in 2015.  The LETR Guardian Award recognizes one outstanding Torch Run Program in the world. To be considered for the Guardian Award, each Torch Run Program should exemplify the true meaning of the LETR mission and have responsibly guarded the Flame of Hope and all it represents.

Undersheriff Jason Johnson has been extensively involved with the Torch Run for the past 17 years, serving as the Assistant Torch Run Director for 10 of those years.  Undersheriff Johnson has been a Leg Leader, Special Events Coordinator, event participant, Area Management Team LETR Liaison, Local Games LETR Liaison, State Games LETR Liaison, Global Messenger Coach (to Missoula athlete Gary Fuller) and Region VIII Coordinator.  Globally, he was a member of the International LETR Council providing valuable insight and counsel.  Undersheriff Johnson also was the Montana Torch Runner for the 2005 World Winter Games in Japan, and served as a Final Leg Team Leader for the 2006 USA Games in Iowa, the 2011 World Summer Games in Greece and the 2013 World Winter Games in the Republic of Korea.  Currently, he serves on the Special Olympics Montana Board of Directors representing the MT LETR.

Given Undersheriff Johnson’s commitment to excellence, he has received noteworthy accolades from the MT LETR and Special Olympics Montana.  In 2006 he was inducted into the Montana Torch Run Hall of Fame.  In 2011 he received the Special Olympics Montana “Spirit of Special Olympics” award and in 2014 he received worldwide distinction and the LETR’s most coveted award when he was inducted into the International LETR Richard LaMunyon Hall of Fame.

Given the scope and magnitude of Undersheriff Johnson’s involvement, the LETR Executive Committee and Special Olympics Montana look forward to supporting him in his new role as Torch Run Director.  If you should have any questions, please contact Terri Sappington, Associate VP of LETR at (800) 242-6876 or tsappington@somt.org.

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