Athletes from the Antelope Valley, Santa Clarita and the greater Tri Valley areas participated in the Special Olympics May 2 at the Palmdale High School where they competed in basketball, track-and-field, swimming and other events.
“I couldn’t be more proud of our athletes, our volunteers, our cheerleaders in the stands and especially our military for making this such a special day for all of us,” said Palmdale Mayor James Ledford. “Even the weather is on our side.”
Enjoying the beautiful spring morning, more than 300 athletes, volunteers and fans gathered to cheer each other on. Approximately 80 military personnel who are serving at Edwards Air Force Base volunteered for the event.
Before the posting of the colors by Boy Scout Troop 39, master of ceremonies Larry Kahn assured that every abled body in the arena was standing and that all men removed their hats. His son, 1st Lt. Anton Khan, 25, is currently serving in Afghanistan.
“If it wasn’t for our men and woman in uniform, we wouldn’t be standing here today,” said Kahn, “and if they were not here today, helping us, we could not do this—at least to this capacity,” said Kahn.
Starting the party, guests were entertained by a family band, The Fulcos—Joei,18, Jesse,16, Stevie,12, and Tyler, 9, who were recently introduced on the Oprah Winfrey show by their manager Apollonia Kotero (Purple Rain).
Having toured around the world, Joei confessed, “I think this has to be the most important, most special venue that we have ever played for; my mom and I got all emotional when the Boy Scouts posted the colors, it was a little hard to sing the national anthem right after that.”
She said that the athletes she talked to and hugged, were the most beautiful, genuine and real people she has ever met. “I think they are born without a ‘hate-gene.’ It doesn’t matter if they come in first or last, they are happy and happy for each other-it’s beautiful.”
More than 80 volunteers from Edwards Air Force Base cheer on athletes during the Special Olympics at Palmdale High School. Athletes from the Antelope Valley, Santa Clarita and Tri Valley participated, hoping to advance to the Los Angeles Games in 2016.