Special Olympics Missouri

Posted on Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 1:42 pm

Richard Banahan named to SOMO Board of Directors

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(Jefferson City) Special Olympics Missouri is proud to announce that Richard Banahan of St. Louis has been named to the SOMO Board of Directors.
Chief Banahan’s career started with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police department in August 1973 and in his time in law enforcement he served as a police officer, detective and sergeant. He also served as a sergeant assigned to Chief Ronald Henderon’s office where he was one of his administrative assistants. Banahan retired in 1998.

He has been the vice president of the board of directors for Do The Right Thing for more than 10 years and a member for 15 years. The Do The Right Thing initiative was started in the St. Louis area in 1994 by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. Since then, more than 1,000 children have been recognized each year. The organization has its annual kick-off breakfast at St. Louis Community College at Forest Park, where the culinary chefs and students volunteer their time and effort to produce a world class breakfast and event.

He has also refereed both high school and college soccer for the past 25 years and served as president of the High School Soccer Referees Association for the past 10 years.

Banahan has been involved with Special Olympics for more than 25 years as a runner, volunteer and fundraiser. He started out on the second Law Enforcement for Special Olympics Torch Run when they ran from Columbia to Jefferson City. In 1992, he was selected by the Missouri Police Chiefs Association to be the co-chairman of the LETR. The structure that was instituted when he was chairman has continued to this date, which helped raise more than $2 million in 2013.

During the last 25 years, the LETR has hosted the St. Louis Police Department Trivia Night where more than $175,000 has been raised.

Banahan received the John Michael Letz Award, which was established in December 1994 for the purpose of recognizing an individual whose unselfish efforts and contributions are directly responsible for the success of the Law Enforcement Torch Run® (LETR) for Special Olympics Missouri.

During these years, his participation has gone from state LETR chairman, to regional coordinator of eight states, International Law Enforcement Torch Run Executive Council and then being elected to the LETR Hall of Fame in 2006. Induction into the Hall of Fame recognizes outstanding individuals who have demonstrated a sustained and significant contribution to Special Olympics and the SOMO LETR at the local, national and international levels.

He has been on the LETR Final Leg committee for more than 10 years, during which time he traveled to Idaho, Nebraska, Iowa, Japan, Ireland, Greece, Bulgaria, Austria, England, Northern Ireland, Ireland, Italy, Turkey and Canada where Special Olympics was introduced and featured.

All this and he still considers it the greatest privilege because, “No matter how many times I have become involved with the athletes and recognized for my achievement, I always receive a lot more from the athletes than I give.”

For more information about this honor or anything else pertaining to SOMO, contact Brandon Schatsiek, Public Relations Coordinator at Schatsiek@somo.org.

About Special Olympics Missouri
Special Olympics Missouri is a year-round program of sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Nearly 17,000 athletes participate in 21 Olympic-type sports throughout the state. Special Olympics provides people with intellectual disabilities continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, and experience joy as they participate in the sharing of gifts and friendship with their fellow athletes, their family and friends, and communities across Missouri.

Special Olympics Missouri is proud of our financial health returning 87 percent of every dollar back to program services. We are privileged to be recognized with these honors: Better Business Bureau A+ Charity Accreditation, Charity Navigator 4-star rating and an inductee into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame – Class of 2013.

Thank you for trusting us with your donations, volunteer time and your goodwill.

Visit Special Olympics at www.somo.org. Engage with us on Twitter @somissouri; fb.com/specialolympicsmo.

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