A Western Illinois University alumna and Illinois State Police master sergeant has been chosen for the Final Leg team for the “Guarding of the Flame,” torch run through Berlin and Brandenburg, Germany in June as part of the 2023 Special Olympics World Games.

Amber Dunn of Galesburg earned her bachelor’s degree from WIU in management in 2006 and her master’s degree in law enforcement and justice administration in 2009. She has worked for the Illinois State Police since 2010.

Amber Dunn of Galesburg has participated in the Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run for over 12 years.

The Flame of Hope torch run will end in Berlin June 17 as part of the opening ceremony of the Special Olympics World Games. Only 100 law enforcement officers internationally were chosen to be part of the team, according to a Friday release from WIU.

“I am very blessed and grateful to have been selected for this incredible opportunity,” said Dunn. “We, as police officers, have an internal drive to help and take care of our communities and be involved as much as we can. Law Enforcement has a special connection to Special Olympics with the Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR). This is the biggest fundraising mechanism for Special Olympics here in Illinois and internationally.”

Since its founding in 1981 in Wichita, Kan., the Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run has raised nearly $1 billion for local Special Olympics programs. The LETR currently has more than 96 programs in 46 countries and more than 95,000 participants globally.

However, Dunn stressed, fundraising is what the officers do, “not who we are.”

“We are the person cheering on our athletes from the sidelines, handing them their medals after competition, taking selfies, and just supporting a community that has not always been supported or included,” she said. “All it takes is one high-five, smile, or hug from an athlete and you will understand how connected you become immediately. I have been participating with Special Olympics LETR events for over 12 years now.

“To be provided an opportunity to do what I love and share the mission of the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics with other athletes and officers from around the world while carrying the Flame of Hope is truly humbling,” Dunn said.

The Special Olympics World Games will be held June 17-25, 2023 in Brandenburg and Berlin, Germany.

The World Games, held from June 17-25, will include 7,000 athletes from across the globe, representing 190 delegations in 26 sports.

Dunn is also participating in the Special Olympics Spring Games, held in Monmouth (Sunnylane Field) Saturday, May 6. The games are to determine which athletes move on to the state competition in Bloomington in June.

More than 100 law enforcement officers and 40 Special Olympics athletes from across the globe will unite to carry the Flame of Hope through Berlin and Brandenburg on June 14 – 17 to raise awareness for the 2023 Special Olympics World Games. 

Each participant is anticipated to carry the Flame of Hope through 16 communities in Berlin and Brandenburg over those 4 days paving the way for a world of acceptance and inclusion. A fundraising campaign for Dunn’s international trip is ongoing and can be accessed online HERE.