This award recognizes outstanding individuals who have contributed to the success of their local and state Special Olympics programs.
Nigrelli has been involved with Special Olympics New York and the Law Enforcement Torch Run for more than 19 years. He is the current New York State Torch Run Director (2010 to present), a volunteer based position, elected by his peers and served before this as the Western Regional Director from 2006 to 2010. He is the Chairman of the WNY Polar Plunge (December 1, 2012 at Woodlawn State Park) which has raised nearly half a million dollars in six years. He is also a member of numerous LETR event committees such as the Over the Edge, Applebee's Law & Orders, he plans and implements more than 10 Torch Run Legs across WNY and is a part of the committee for the 2013 Summer Games in Buffalo.
Nigrelli also spends his weekends with the athletes of Special Olympics New York, awarding medals to the Athletes at local, regional and State games. He is most comfortable at the events hanging out with the athletes, playing and getting to know them better. He believes that “athletes are athletes no matter what….and all athletes all talk the same language…competition and sports!"
In January, Nigrelli will be representing New York State LETR during the Final Leg leading up to the 2013 World Winter Games in South Korea where he will be part of the team that delivers the Special Olympics Torch to light the cauldron at the Opening Ceremonies in PyeongChang.
The John Carion Award was created to recognize outstanding individuals who have contributed to the success of the Law Enforcement Torch Run on a local, state or community level. 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. The award was created to honor the memory of Sgt. John Carion, Sterling Heights (MI) Police Department and his many contributions to the Law Enforcement Torch Run and Special Olympics. The Unsung Hero award is a tribute to Sergeant John Carion, who epitomized the term “Unsung Hero” during his lifetime before his untimely death in a plane crash in January, 1994. John was a low-key, quiet, but effective leader in the Torch Run effort, especially in the areas of law enforcement volunteerism for Special Olympics and furthering the ideals of Unified Sports in Special Olympics
Special Olympics New York provides year-round sports training and competition in 22 Olympic-style sports to children and adults with intellectual disabilities at no cost to the athletes, their families or caregivers. More than 55,000 athletes train and compete with Special Olympics New York, the largest Special Olympics program in North America.