Special Olympics a success in Camellia City

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 30, 2002

Tuesday, November 26 was a picture-perfect November day in the ‘City of Smiles’ as the Area Special Olympics got underway at the City of Greenville’s new softball and recreation complex, located off Highway 10 West.

Butler Activity Center Director Sheila Martin was certainly all smiles that gorgeous fall morning.

&uot;We couldn’t have had a lovelier day for this…and isn’t it a nice location out here,&uot; Martin noted.

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City firemen were on hand to run the Olympic torch around the field to kick off the 2nd annual event at 10 a.m.

Representative Charles Newton gave the welcome and Charles Thigpen led the crowd in an opening prayer. Participants from Butler and Covington Counties then competed in such events as bean bag toss, 20 meter walk, 50 meter run, standing long jump and softball throw.

The Greenville Civitans, sponsors for the event, were on hand to help in all phases of the day’s festivities, including the all-important cheering on of the excited athletes.

The Greenville High School Tiger Reps and members of the school’s Key Club also assisted in measuring events, assisting athletes to and from events, cheering the participants on and serving them lunch.

&uot;We couldn’t have done this without Donna Patterson and the students from GHS…they were absolutely wonderful,&uot; noted Martin.

Church volunteers Kathryn Slagley, Bobbie Parrish and Jennifer Coon were also on hand to assist with the event.

Following the competitive events, the Civitans tabulated the scores. The top three in each event were led to the three-tiered platform where each was presented with a shining gold, silver or bronze medal and plenty of hearty yells and applause.

All the athletes received yellow participant ribbons for their efforts.

The faces of the Special Olympians seemed as bright as the day’s welcome sunshine as they showed off their newly won medals and ribbons, shared hugs and enjoyed a lunch of hot dogs, chips and drinks.

Martin glowed with satisfaction as the event drew to an end and gave high praise to all those who made it possible.

&uot;I can’t tell you how wonderful it was to come out here and have everything set up for us in advance.

Steve Davison and the Civitans did a wonderful job putting the project together for us. Jerome Harris [of Parks and Recreation] marked the field and set up the tables and chairs… he has been so very nice.

Charles Newton secured a grant for us to help with expenses.

&uot;The bread store provided us with hot dog buns… Arby’s, Wendy’s and the VOA provided us with food items for lunch.

And Mr. Graham at Super Foods donated all those wonderful balloons.

I can’t express how thankful I am for everyone’s help today,&uot; noted Martin.

&uot;They made this a truly enjoyable day for our special athletes—and in the end, that’s what it’s all about,&uot; she added with a thankful smile.