An Officer on a Mission to Live Unified
Patrolman Officer Nathan Rinks from Beech Grove Police Department found himself becoming an officer when he had the drive to help people. Fast forward 12 years later, he is still on the force and loves his job.
Officer Rinks first became mindful of the Special Olympics movement in the early 90’s. His cousin swam and he traveled yearly to watch him compete. Although he knew about Special Olympics, he never was directly involved. And, as the story would go, all of that changed when he played in a Special Olympics softball unified game. That one game he attended, would soon turn into two, then a couple more and then he was completely immersed –with their team winning state that year.
“The most gratifying moment that day was working with the athletes and seeing just how important it was to them,” said Officer Rinks. “Softball was a big part of my life then. Immediately I could see that for these athletes, this was one of the biggest moments in their lives –it felt great to help them.”
With just one invitation to a Special Olympics softball game, it was an instant connection for Officer Rinks, he was able to find a new passion, one that involved two of his jobs: continuing to serve and protect his community, along with working with Special Olympics Indiana and later the Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) program.
His enthusiasm for Unified sports® has even spread to his two daughters, whom at the age of four and nine have already started getting involved in unified kickball teams. Officer Rinks believes and makes sure to instill in his daughters that it is important to treat everyone equally no matter what their disabilities may be.
The most significant element that Special Olympics provides for their athletes is the gift of inclusion. “Special Olympics allows people who may otherwise feel different, have a stronger sense of belonging. This movement has the ability to touch people in ways that I myself cannot even describe –it’s powerful!”
Officer Rinks plans to get even more officers involved in Special Olympics events such as the Plane Pull and Polar Plunge. The Polar Plunge is Special Olympics Indiana’s largest fundraiser of the year, which he did this February for the first time, and was the top fundraising officer! His ultimate goal is to have more officers to experience all of the great moments taking place in Special Olympics.
For more information on the Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) program please visit: