POINT PLEASANT — Special Olympics has never been about disability but rather, celebrating ability.
Recently, Mason County Special Olympics hosted its 49th annual Field Day, a celebration of all participants, with a theme of “Down on the Farm.”
Hosted at the West Virginia State Farm Museum, participants were treated to a day of free games and activities, which this year included a petting zoo and wagon rides around the museum grounds.
This was the fifth year for organizers of the event, Ashley Durst and Delyssa Edwards. Both women met, and became friends, through Special Olympics. Durst has a brother with special needs and Edwards an uncle. In more recent years, Durst has been the official photographer for the Mason County Fair and Edwards has worked with a variety of non-profit organizations and is a well-known pageant director. Both ladies took their talents for being organized and getting things done and applied it to making Special Olympics, special, in Mason County.
“It’s a way of giving back,” Edwards said, as to why the pair became so involved in the organization and field day.
Durst explained field day was a day of fun and games. There are no athletic competitions because this isn’t about competition, it’s about inclusion and all participants in field day are made to feel special by receiving t-shirts and medals for being who they are, Durst explained.
In addition, participants receive goody bags from Mason County Title Holders from various local pageants. These girls also volunteer at the event, helping to keep the stations moving and everyone enjoying the day – they are officially called “buddies.” Volunteers from local businesses also show up to keep the event happening and funded.
Sponsors include: AEP Mountaineer Plant, AEP River Transportation, Sharon Stapleton-Peoples Bank, Tuscany Cuccini, Sandy Dunn-Homestead Realty, Point Pleasant Intermediate School PTA, Jocelynn Wilson (2017 Miss WVAFF), Katherine Deem (2016 Mason County Fair Queen), Sarah Deem (2016 Sternwheel Regatta Teen Queen), Kountry Kritters 4-H Club, John and Natasha Hesson, Paul Simon, Roselyn Roush, Larry and Lisa Johnson, Delgate Scott Brewer and Linda Brewer, Mason County FFA Alumni, Eddie and Patricia Lanham, Susan and Brittany Sayre, Rick Simpkins.
There were a total of 57 local people who were school-aged to adults, who participated in the recent field day.
Beth Sergent is editor of Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at [email protected].