It is the greatest wish for any athlete to be able to compete at an Olympic level and it is no less of a wish for Walton County’s Special Olympians. And that wish was again realized Friday when the rains cleared in time for the athletes to take to the field at Monroe Area High School.
“It was a great day at Special Olympics! We had a little rain, but it went away,” said key organizer Janice Tribble. “God heard our prayers! God Bless everyone that came and helped.”
The games got underway with the traditional pomp and circumstance in recognition of the special athletes – some of them fresh off of a hero’s send-off by their fellow students as they left the school to head to the games. The Color Guard from the American Legion Post 233 out of Loganville led the parade of athletes before Walnut Grove High School principal S. Callahan welcomed Rod Smith to give the invocation and the National Anthem, which was sung by Kayla Martin. The sponsors were recognized, Coach John Arquette was named Volunteer of the Year and the 2019 Spirit of Special Olympics award actually went to three special athletes this year – Tyler Green of Monroe Area High School, Calyssa Parker of Walnut Grove High School and Ethan Martinez-Hill of Loganville High School.
All that was left was the running of the torch. Then, to a call of “Let the Games begin” the athletes went to their posts and got to enjoy the cheers and accolades as their own special talents were put to the test.
It takes months of organizing to plan and execute the Walton County Special Olympics each year, but those involved say the pure joy exhibited by the athletes make it all worthwhile.