Elwood Johnson Outstanding Service Award

JPD Officer Mario Mennella one of 12 nominated for first SORI award

Johnston Sun Rise ·

Johnston Police Officer Mario Mennella has been nominated for the inaugural Elwood Johnson Outstanding Service Award.

Special Olympics Rhode Island (SORI) announced the nominees earlier this week. the statewide award winner will be announced at the Friday, May 3 Rhode Island Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR RI) 2024 Conference.

Mennella is one of only a dozen members of Ocean State law enforcement nominated for the award, which has been “established in honor of Elwood Johnson Jr., a dedicated supporter of Special Olympics Rhode Island and longtime law enforcement member.”

The “award celebrates individuals who embody the spirit of philanthropy and community impact,” according to a SORI press release. The list of nominees recognizes “12 exceptional members of (LETR RI) community.”

“Officer Mennella's dedication to this cause is commendable,” Johnston Police Chief Mark A. Vieira said Tuesday. “For more than 10 years, Officer Mennella has been a driving force behind our department's participation in Special Olympics Rhode Island events. From helping to organize the Law Enforcement Torch Run to the Motorcycle Run, he has worked hard to raise both awareness and funds for Special Olympics athletes.”

Special Olympics Rhode Island is a “non-profit organization dedicated to providing year-round sports training and competition for individuals with intellectual disabilities,” according to awards banquet organizers.

The 12 honorees were nominated by their respective departments or agencies, and “have demonstrated unwavering dedication to providing opportunities for athletes with intellectual disabilities to empower themselves and their communities.”

“Officer Mennella's commitment to our community and his efforts to support these athletes has brought our community closer together,” Vieira said. “We are proud to have Officer Mennella serve as part of our department, and we overwhelmingly support his nomination for the Elwood Johnson Outstanding Service Award.”

The list of the other 11 award nominees includes: Officer John Benros, Providence Police; Corp. Gregory Burbank, Westerly Police; Lt. Jason Cahill, Burrillville Police; Officer Mac Hindle, Hopkinton Police; Detective Eric Leclerc, Cranston Police; Officer Frank Matarese, Warwick Police Department; Lt. Sarah McNulty, Central Falls Police; Lt. Joshua Nelson, North Smithfield Police; Sgt. Jon Ricciarelli, Smithfield Police; Corp. Kyle Shibley, Rhode Island State Police; and Maj. James Tiernan, West Greenwich Police.

Special Olympics Rhode Island President and CEO Ed Pacheco has presented each law enforcement honoree with a citation and Elwood Johnson Outstanding Service pin.

SORI serves more than 3,500 Ocean State athletes of all ages, races and genders. The LETR is a volunteer movement established by members of law enforcement to support Special Olympics.

“In Rhode Island, the movement includes law enforcement, corrections, fire, and justice departments,” according to the organization. “The LETR mission statement is to increase public awareness and raise funds for the Special Olympics movement worldwide.”

This story was originally posted by Johnston Sun Rise. Click here to view the original story in its entirety.