By Don Chaddock, Inside CDCR editor
Photos by Eric Owens, CDCR Staff Photographer
Office of Public and Employee Communications

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) was recently recognized for their fundraising efforts on behalf of the Special Olympics.

Diana Toche, Undersecretary of Health Care Services, accepted the award January 20, 2016 at the 5th Annual Law Enforcement Torch Run Conference in Livermore on behalf of Secretary Scott Kernan.

CDCR was the highest fundraising law enforcement agency in 2015.

“The Department has been a long-standing supporter of Special Olympics,” Undersecretary Toche said. “The partnership between CDCR and Special Olympics is meaningful.”

She said CDCR took part in Bike the Bridges, various Law Enforcement Torch Runs, Polar Plunges, Color Me Rad, Tip-a-Cop and community events. Inmates held food and bake sales, as well as auctioned hand-crafted items, to donate to the cause.

“In collaboration with the Law Enforcement Torch Run partners, CDCR donated a statewide total of $152,000 in 2015,” she said.

Special Olympics of Northern California received $137,000.

“Congratulations to our staff on this impressive milestone,” Undersecretary Toche said. “We are passionate about making a difference and charitable giving is a unique partnership to provide California offenders with an opportunity to give back to society while furthering their rehabilitation process.”

She said supporting Special Olympics has special meaning for her.

“My good friend Greg has a daughter with Down Syndrome,” she said. “In 2014, he encouraged me to participate in Bike the Bridges to show my support.”

This past summer, Undersecretary Toche had the honor to run the torch into the stadium at UC Davis and light the cauldron at the opening ceremonies of the summer games.

Undersecretary Toche said the real heroes are the athletes.

“Thank you, Special Olympics athletes, for sharing your strength and courage with CDCR,” she said. “Let’s make 2016 another year to remember. I challenge CDCR to raise the bar again.”