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THE JEFFERSON AWARDS: Our June winners help people of all abilities enjoy athletics

Every month, FOX 47 features someone in our community who is making a difference and we honor them with a Jefferson Award. 

We have two winners for the month of June. 

They both are helping people of all abilities enjoy and excel at athletics.

Whether on the field, or on the court, our June Jefferson Award winners devote their time to Rochester’s Special Olympics athletes.

LeAnn Bieber and Lori Torgerson are the Co-Heads of Delegation for the Rochester Flyers.

Bieber got involved after her daughter participated as an athlete.

Torgerson started volunteering alongside her husband, Sheriff Kevin Torgerson.

"It’s the highlight of my day just to see them with their pride and working on their skills and challenging themselves and succeeding with those challenges," Bieber said. 

"Coming to practice and getting greeted with a hug and a thank you and just being there and allowing the athletes to participate," said Torgerson. 

They do a bit of everything, overseeing 300 athletes participating in nine sports, organizing uniforms and venues for practices, coordinating transportation for the players, and planning fundraising events. 

It’s all for the athletes. 

"They’re a huge blessing in our lives," said Eric Petersen, a Rochester Flyer. "They’re always there for us through thick and thin."

"I think they do a really good job of organizing everything," said Jordan Holt, another Special Olympics athlete. 

One of the Flyers’ coaches, Mona Hoeft, nominated Bieber and Torgerson for the Jefferson Award. 

"Their hearts are in it," Hoeft said. "They give everything, they give 100 percent. The Rochester Flyers would not be the team that they are if Lori and Leann weren’t there leading us, including the coaches and help us do a great job leading the athletes."

"Every time I come to practice I get a hug from one or two or three," said Bieber. 

"Watching these athletes and how proud they are of their ability and how much faster they can run than me in track, how better they can bowl in me than bowling, and just being my friend," said Torgerson. 

And if you know someone who’s also making a difference, you can nominate them for a Jefferson Award here


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