Fifteen years ago, Betty Kettle took part in her first Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics.
© Brodie Thomas photo
Betty Kettle stands in downtown Port aux basques minutes before participating in her 16th Law Enfrocement Torch Run for the Special Olympics. This year she raised over $2,100, bringing her 16-year total to $20,074.
Now, in her 16th year, she is marking a special milestone. After keeping a tally of all the money she raised over the years, this year she has reached the $20,000 mark.
Her 16-year total, as of last Tuesday’s run, was $20,074. This year she collected $2,126 in pledges.
Ms. Kettle said she spends about one month collecting pledges each year, going out in the afternoons and evenings, weather permitting.
“I just went door to door, wherever I could get, from Port aux Basques to Stephenville,” she said.
Her collection campaigns have also taken her to Margaree, Isle aux Morts, Cape Ray and the Codroy Valley. Friends and family in Pasadena and St. John’s help her most years as well.
After collecting her pledges, Ms. Kettle walks and runs the seven kilometers from Port aux Basques town hall to the RCMP Station in Grand Bay West.
However, she started out when the torch run went along the old route.
“One time it used to be on the highway, from J. T. Cheeseman Park down, but then it got too dangerous.”
All money raised goes to the province’s Special Olympic. Ms. Kettle said one year she was invited to the games by the RCMP. An officer picked her up and brought her to the games in Corner Brook for the day.
Her fundraising efforts have not gone unnoticed. Ms. Kettle has had other charities approach her to raise funds on their behalf. She felt it wouldn’t be fair to the Torch Run to collect for anyone else.
“They knew what I was doing but I couldn’t stop and do something else. Everybody knew me on this one, so I had to turn it down.”
Constable Patrick Kane has been organizing the run for the past few years. He said Ms. Kettle’s support has been invaluable to the cause.
“She has been our MVP,” he said. “Her efforts have done a great service to the Special Olympics. We look forward to seeing her for more years to come.”
Now that she has hit the $20,000 mark, Ms. Kettle is thinking about hanging up her pledge sheets and calling it a day. She hasn’t decided for sure yet.
“They told me I can’t quit yet,” she said. “But when I give up this one, that’s it.”