Palmdale High School hosted the Special Olympics May 10 with record attendance for athletes and fans.
Along with Athletes from the Antelope Valley, teams from Long Beach, Pasadena, Santa Clarita and Tri Valley participated in the event that has spanned more than 30 years in the Antelope Valley.
The event would be impossible without community support and numerous volunteers.
The Special Olympics is a stage for people with special needs to perform and compete, but perhaps more importantly it’s a motivator for these very special individuals to better themselves through daily practice and preparation in a variety of sports related events that ultimately improves their lives, said Larry Kahn, a volunteer, defense contractor, and member of the Vagrant X rock band that has provided entertainment for this event for the past two years. He talks the event up at work and around the community to encourage others to volunteer.
It’s very gratifying experience, Kahn added.
Fifty-four airmen from Air Force Test Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., volunteered by passing out water, awarding medals, hugs and high-fives.
The military was amazing, their organization and support was wonderful, said Special Olympic Director, Donna Wilson. They jumped in wherever needed. She said that some athletes asked the airmen for autographs. They are a great part of our community and our event felt complete having them there.
Capt. Stacy M. Baber, director of test at the 419th Flight Test Squadron, said she was amazed by the perseverance, drive and attitude the athletes have in facing each of their own obstacles and challenges to be part of the Special Olympics. It’s inspiring and gratifying to be part of an event that showcases these unique individuals.
Palmdale will be an official host town for the Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles 2015, along with 100 communities around Southern California – from San Luis Obispo to San Diego.
Athletes and participants will spend three days in Palmdale before heading to Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, which takes place July 25 through Aug. 2, 2015,
An estimated 7,000 athletes and 3,000 coaches from 177 nations, and 30,000 volunteers are expected to participate at the same site of the 1932 and 1984 Olympics.
For more information visit www.sosc.org/AntelopeValley.