Special Olympics athletes proved again that people with developmental disabilities can and do succeed. As the athletes showcase their talents and get a chance to stand in the spotlight, they break any and all misconceptions that sometimes serve as barriers.
"They don't get to participate in a lot of sports games that we have in this area. So this allows us to showcase these special athletes on a day like today," said Fredna Cross, Special Olympics event director.
Cross has been the backbone of the Area 5 Special Olympics since it started in 1968. She has fostered 42 years of community building by offering a chance for locals to get involved in the volunteer work that makes this event possible.
"I've been here for three years, and every year Mrs. Fredna has asked us to come out and help out and provide as much volunteer force as we can, and we've never said 'no'," said Aaron Schetzler, CO of Marine Aviation
"It would not be possible without them," said Steve Owen of Area 5 Special Olympics. "We have probably in the neighborhood of one volunteer for each, counting the bus drivers, teachers, military, and civilian help. We end up having one person for every athlete out here, and we have 300 athletes."
The 300 athletes were able to feel like empowered, accepted individuals. Their disabilities were left in the dust as they succeeded in doing what every young person enjoys, playing in the sun with a crowd of admirers cheering.