Another Walton County Special Olympics is in the record books and some local special olympic athletes got to show their athletic abilities once again. The event began with the proud athletes, led by the American Legion Post 233 Color Guard, participating in the traditional parade. This was followed by the invocation by special athlete Rod Smith, the National Anthem by Kayla Martin and a cheer by the Hot Shotz Cheerleaders from Loganville High School.
The annual Walton County Special Olympics happens every year because of the dedicated work of a group of volunteers, few as dedicated at Janice and Harold Tribble. In honor of these years of dedication to this cause, Janice Tribble was present with a quilt from one of her volunteers that was made from t-shirts of past special olympics. Also recognized was Kim Wages for more than two decades of work with the Special Olympics. She is retiring from the school system but made a promise to remain involved with the Walton County Special Olympics. Julie DeVries was given the Volunteer of the Year Award by Walton County School District’s Sean Callahan, who noted her “generosity to the community and especially to Walton County Special Olympics.”
“She has supported Special Olympics by volunteering at various fundraisers and competitions,” Callahan said. He also presented the 2017 Spirit of Special Olympics awards to Abby Amatriain of Loganville High School and Raekwon Lackey and Adam Fogie from Monroe Aria High School.
“This year the “Spirit of Special Olympics” award is printed to three athletes who have worked to develop their athletic Skills, demonstrated sportsmanship and shown great enthusiasm,” Callahan said.
All that was left was the running of the torch, led by Walton County alumni athlete Courtnee Reed and the lighting of the torch by Monroe Area High School Special athlete James Casper, the Special Olympic Oath by Margaret Peters and her students from Harmony Elementary School and with the release of the balloons, another Walton County Special Olympic event kicked off.
There are few events in the community that bring as much joy as the annual Special Olympics.
Courtesy of Robbie Schwartz