Special Olympics: great then, now


PREBLE COUNTY — Special Olympics in Preble County has always had a great tradition throughout our communities. Whether it be the 100 meter run or the 50 meter wheelchair slalom race, athletes compete at a high level and look forward to taking home the gold.

The global theme for Special Olympics is “Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.” Special Olympics has touched many lives in Preble County for several years. The athletes from the 1980s competed hard and had fun, just like today’s athletes.

On Saturday, May 7, 60 athletes from Preble County will gather at Twin Valley South High School in West Alexandria to compete in the annual Track and Field meet. Events include individual running races, walking races, wheelchair races and several field events, including the ever-popular softball throw.

“The athletes work very hard and look forward to the competition,” said Corey Mangan, coordinator for Special Olympics in Preble County. “It’s always an exciting and memorable day for the athletes, volunteers, families and the entire community.”

Mangan noted that Twin Valley South Community Schools and the village of West Alexandra are very instrumental in the success of Special Olympics and the Track and Field games.

“Their support of the program and compassion for the athletes is tremendous,” Mangan said. “We cannot thank them enough.”

Additionally, Special Olympics Preble County receives tremendous support from area businesses and organizations, including: Timken Steel, Dow, the American Legion Post 360, New Paris and American Legion Post 322, West Alexandria; Michael Murphy Insurance, Vintage Wheels Auto Club, The Home Farms, Quaker Trace Tractor, Inc., Larkin-Cobb Chevrolet, L&M Products, Inc., Roselius Insurance, Valley Carpet Center, Dayton Children’s, Loudy Office Machines and Omicron Sigma Sorority.

Mangan said sponsorships are used to purchase athletic equipment, t-shirts, medals and pay for team registration fees at state tournaments.

On May 7, activities begin at 9:30 with a parade through West Alexandria. Parade line-up begins at 9 am at the west end parking lot at the school. Following the parade through town, opening ceremonies will begin at 10 am on the track in front of the stands. Athletic events begin immediately following the ceremonies.

If interested in volunteering, please contact Mangan at 937-456-5891, ext. 124 or email him at [email protected].

Volunteers make it happen!

PCBDD has been advised by legal counsel that it’s a conflict of interest for a county board to operate a private, non-profit group, such as Special Olympics Preble County. In an effort to provide a seamless transition, we are taking 2016 to recruit the necessary volunteers that will be needed for Special Olympics Preble County to become a standalone organization, operated by a volunteer board.

In 2005, PCBDD devoted county staff resources to revitalize the Special Olympics program after a 14-year hiatus. The board provided staff to serve as the coordinator of Special Olympics. As systems change and new requirements for conflict free case management come into play, no longer permitting county boards to provide direct services, Special Olympics also needs to evolve.

PCBDD has been advised that it is a conflict of interest for a county board staff member to operate a non-profit which includes the management of funds.

The county board will continue to support Special Olympics through encouraging volunteerism, promoting local events, helping to seek sponsors and staff participation in a volunteer capacity. The group is seeking community members to help support this transition so our athletes can continue to participate in events they have come to cherish, such as basketball, softball, cheerleading and track and field events.

To learn more about the many ways you can support Special Olympics, contact Corey Mangan at [email protected] or at 937-456-5891, ext. 124.

The tennis ball throw in 1985 in Eaton had many participants, just like it will at the 2016 Track and Field Games on May 7, at Twin Valley South.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/41/2016/05/web1_1SO_Tennis.jpgThe tennis ball throw in 1985 in Eaton had many participants, just like it will at the 2016 Track and Field Games on May 7, at Twin Valley South. Submitted

Action during the 2015 Special Olympics Track and Field Games at Twin Valley South.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/41/2016/05/web1_SO_Track.jpgAction during the 2015 Special Olympics Track and Field Games at Twin Valley South. Submitted

By R-H Staff

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