Events

May 15, 2013

Special Olympians share gold with Volunteers

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Linda KC Reynolds
staff writer

Athlete Eddy Thomas proudly shows his winnings to 2nd Lt. Jake Downey who, along with 2nd Lt. Jessica Pease and other officers, helped pass out medals at the Special Olympics at Quartz Hill High School. Approximately 200 people volunteered at the event. Thankful for the turnout and support, coordinator Donna Wilson would like to see more fans in the audience cheering on the athletes.

More than 300 athletes from Southern California took part in the Special Olympics at Quartz Hill High School May 4.

Volunteers, coaches and guests cheered as athletes gave it their all in the track and field, and basketball competitions.

This is just what I needed, said Linda Shear, a volunteer from Temecula, Calif. Feeling a little empty the past few months, Shear said the pure energy she received from the athletes and guests made her want to do more. ìThis was such a special time. It feels good to make a difference in someone’s day and life; this kind of fulfillment is priceless.

Palmdale Mayor Jim Ledford hugged and high-fived athletes and graciously thanked the community for their support.

What a great day, said Tom Miller, NASA test pilot and bass player for the Vagrant X band. Millerís whole family has supported the event in the past so he was honored to be asked to come out again and play some music. It’s a real privilege to support these athletes who have worked so hard to get here and to share in their achievement and excitement.

Gold medalists of the 50-meter race – Toni Gonzalez, Brittany Morgan and Karina Gutierrez celebrate victory with volunteers Cadet Goody, 2nd Lt. Jake Downey, LA County Sherriff Chris Henn, Col. Glenn Graham and Senior B-2 test pilot Lt Col Steve Sims at the Special Olympics at Quartz Hill High School. More than 300 athletes from Southern California participated in the event.

Founded in 1968, Special Olympics is the world’s largest sports organization for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, providing year-round training and competitions to more than four million athletes in 170 countries.

The Special Olympics has been a great way for our daughter to gain confidence and to stay motivated, said Rafael Gonzalez, an administrator for High Desert Medical Group. His daughter Toni participated in the 50-, 100- and 200-meter races.

Supporters from Harley Davidson, the ROTC, the U.S. Air Force and local aerospace companies pitched in to help make the event a success.
ìThis is extra, extra special for some of us Boeing folks because we have friends and family members who are athletes participating in todayís events,î said Al Hoffman, Boeing site director at NASA Dryden.

Outreach/Fundraising Coordinator Donna Wilson said she would like to see a lot more fans in the audience cheering.

Like any sports event, our athletes get energy from the cheering and support from the fans. It makes a huge part of the atmosphere and is very encouraging and empowering for our athletes.




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