Tom Madera gives back

September 16, 2019

Yale Public Safety values community policing and public outreach. Many of our police and security officers interact with members of the campus and New Haven communities on a regular basis. And just as many do volunteer work after hours. Tom Madera, security manager, is one of those individuals. Tom joined Yale in January, but has volunteered with Special Olympics Connecticut since 1995.

It started by happenstance, when a friend asked Tom to help referee a Special Olympics CT soccer game. “I didn’t know anything about soccer but was told that wasn’t necessary. It was life changing. After that I was hooked,” said Tom. Since then, he has been a town captain, unified sports partner, and director of the Law Enforcement Torch Run. While he enjoys every aspect of volunteering with this group, he gets the most fulfillment from working directly with the athletes through the unified sports program. This involves playing alongside the athletes in sports such as softball, basketball, and hockey. In 2014, he traveled with the softball team to the USA Special Olympics games. They came in fourth that year. Tom also helps with the Special Olympics CT Fall Festival - occurring this year in North Branford, CT.

As co-director of the Law Enforcement Torch Run, Tom helps to coordinate the routes and fundraise. “Last year, the torch run raised over $785,000. All of money goes to the programs so the athletes and adults can participate in the games and other local events. This includes travel expenses, hotels, and the cost of putting on local events like dances,” said Tom. In 2010, he ran a five-day leg of the torch run from Ames, Iowa to Lincoln, Nebraska, the location of the USA Special Olympics opening ceremony that year. “Working with these athletes and adults is and has been a great experience. The athletes just love the volunteers. They are so happy and smiling all the time. You see the impact of what you are doing immediately. But they have a bigger impact on us,” said Tom.

Prior to Yale, Tom worked for many years in law enforcement and most recently as a Lieutenant at Eastern Connecticut State University. He lives in Hamden with his family. Never one to be idle, this year Tom will be competing in the Men’s Over 50 National Softball World Series in Las Vegas, NV.

Go Tom! Thank you for all you do.