Approximately 350 athletes and unified partners participated in this year’s event that included running and walking events, slalom, relays with unified partners, boys and girls shot put, bean bag toss, long jump and softball throw. Athletes ranged in age from 8 to 22 and come from every school in Darke County. Cindy Rose, volunteer director for Darke County’s Special Olympics, couldn’t be more pleased with the support the event receives from the school districts. Many of the superintendents were on-hand to help with the events.
Rose is in her 19th year of serving Darke County Special Olympics, but pointed out there are several volunteers that have been with this event for all 35 years. This was the 10th year for the event to be held on a school day, which Rose noted, has helped attendance.
New to the event this year was the awards stage. According to Rose, a father of one of the athletes approached her about building a stage to celebrate the athletes. Rose agreed and John Burnett gathered a few friends to help build and gather materials. Several businesses donated to the cause and the result is a beautiful awards stand that features three podiums to recognize the winners. One of the podiums is wheelchair accessible.
|John Burnett and some of his friends that helped build the new Special Olympics award stand were on-hand to help open this year’s event.|
|Fred Foutz, publisher of The Early Bird, pins a ribbon on one of the winners. (Ryan Berry photo)|
Susan Allread, Senior Vice President & CFO of Greenville Federal, presented a blue ribbon to Renee Netzley for first place in the girls softball throw at the Special Olympics. (Brian Beam photo)
|Bailey Buck displays some of the ribbons she won at the track and field meet. (Ryan Berry photo)|