Everyone is a winner


Celebrating 50 years of Special Olympics

By Mindy Kearns - Special to the Register



Cornhole was one of the many field day activities at the 50th Annual Mason County Special Olympics.

Cornhole was one of the many field day activities at the 50th Annual Mason County Special Olympics.


Mindy Kearns | Courtesy

Special Olympics isn’t just for children. Athletes from the Jackson County Developmental Center (JCDC) in Point Pleasant are shown with their medals, and also being “photo bombed” by the Special Olympics bulldog mascot.


Mindy Kearns | Courtesy

Special Olympics Field Day activities included the testing of skills, as athletes attempted to throw the football through the Olympic rings.


Mindy Kearns | Courtesy

Face painting was enjoyed by the Special Olympics athletes, painted by the royalty of the Paws & Claws pageant.


Mindy Kearns | Courtesy

Many Wahama students volunteered their time Friday to help with the Mason County Special Olympics Annual Field Day. They served as “buddies” while the athletes enjoyed competition, as well as crafts and other activities.


Mindy Kearns | Courtesy

Wheelchair races were a part of the Special Olympics Friday, held at Wahama High School.


Mindy Kearns | Courtesy

Wahama Special Olympics Buddy Payton McFarland helps an athlete with a name tag prior to the beginning of the games.


Mindy Kearns | Courtesy

Every athlete was honored at the Mason County Special Olympics 50th Annual Field Day, held Friday at Wahama High School. Pictured are the New Haven Elementary Olympians as they receive their medals.


Mindy Kearns | Courtesy

Special Olympics athletes competed in the game of bocce ball.


Mindy Kearns | Courtesy

Wahama High School student and Special Olympics buddy Jackson Hall, left, is pictured as he challenges an athlete to a tug of war at Friday’s 50th Annual Field Day.


Mindy Kearns | Courtesy

MASON — Everyone was a winner when the Mason County Special Olympics marked its 50th anniversary with the annual field day on Friday.

Held at Wahama High School, each athlete participating was awarded a medal, as well as a backpack filled with goodies. From preschool through adult, participants competed in cornhole, bocce ball, tug of war, wheelchair races and football throw, among others. Athletes were also treated to face painting, crafts, and a visit by the Special Olympics mascot bulldog.

AEP was recognized during the event for being the corporate sponsor in Mason County for the entire 50 years. The company provided the backpacks given out to the athletes, as well as a pizza lunch, drinks, and water throughout the day, according to Aleta Flora, Olympics county coordinator. Many of the AEP employees also attended the event to assist.

Also helping at the Olympics were Wahama High School students, who served as either a “buddy” for each athlete or operated a field event.

They included Ethan VanMatre, Jackson Hall, Chesnie Brinker, Emily Mattox, Leah Hoffman, Abbie Lieving, Jacqueline Fields, Victoria VanMatre, Grace Haddox, Harley Roush, Emma Gibbs, Bryce Meadows, Mary Roush, Isaac Roush, Owen Richardson, Adriana Boswell, Kelsey Hickel, Briana Roush, Lillian Karr, Lauren Fields, Olivia Johnson,

Aubree Johnson, Camryn Tyree, Bryce Fields, Nick Brewer, Abram Pauley, Alexis Mick, Mackenzie Barr, Skylar Riffle, Logan Eads, Michela Williamson, Courtney Rickard, Abby Taylor, Mariah Young, Trinity Neal, Kyher Bush, Payton McFarland, Chloe Robinson, Ashton Broughman, Cara Russell, and Olivia Brooks.

Longtime Special Olympics volunteers were presented plaques, although some were unable to attend. Among the honored was Janet Cunningham, who has been a volunteer for the past 47 years. Others included Bill and Sue Hussell, Mike and Linda Stanley, Lonnie and Pam Bryan, Donna Slayton, Julie Jeffries, Rita Mace, Melody MacKnight, Minnie Fowler, and Mary Thompson.

Flora said the county Special Olympics provides year-round activities for participants, including basketball, cheerleading, bocce, bowling, golf, football, volleyball and others. The sports are practiced at various times throughout the year. She added new athletes are always welcomed into the program, and to qualify a participant must have an IEP or a diagnosed intellectual disability.

Local Olympians are currently getting ready to attend the State Summer Games Competition, according to Flora. Practices for flag football, football skills and volleyball will begin in August.

For more information, contact Flora at 304-563-1734 or at aletamarie81@hotmail.com. The organization can also be found on Facebook at Mason County Special Olympics.

Cornhole was one of the many field day activities at the 50th Annual Mason County Special Olympics.
https://www.mydailyregister.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/24/2018/05/web1_5.12-Oly-10.jpgCornhole was one of the many field day activities at the 50th Annual Mason County Special Olympics. Mindy Kearns | Courtesy

Special Olympics isn’t just for children. Athletes from the Jackson County Developmental Center (JCDC) in Point Pleasant are shown with their medals, and also being “photo bombed” by the Special Olympics bulldog mascot.
https://www.mydailyregister.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/24/2018/05/web1_5.12-Olym-3.jpgSpecial Olympics isn’t just for children. Athletes from the Jackson County Developmental Center (JCDC) in Point Pleasant are shown with their medals, and also being “photo bombed” by the Special Olympics bulldog mascot. Mindy Kearns | Courtesy

Special Olympics Field Day activities included the testing of skills, as athletes attempted to throw the football through the Olympic rings.
https://www.mydailyregister.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/24/2018/05/web1_5.12-Olym-5.jpgSpecial Olympics Field Day activities included the testing of skills, as athletes attempted to throw the football through the Olympic rings. Mindy Kearns | Courtesy

Face painting was enjoyed by the Special Olympics athletes, painted by the royalty of the Paws & Claws pageant.
https://www.mydailyregister.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/24/2018/05/web1_5.12-Olym-6.jpgFace painting was enjoyed by the Special Olympics athletes, painted by the royalty of the Paws & Claws pageant. Mindy Kearns | Courtesy

Many Wahama students volunteered their time Friday to help with the Mason County Special Olympics Annual Field Day. They served as “buddies” while the athletes enjoyed competition, as well as crafts and other activities.
https://www.mydailyregister.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/24/2018/05/web1_5.12-Olym-7.jpgMany Wahama students volunteered their time Friday to help with the Mason County Special Olympics Annual Field Day. They served as “buddies” while the athletes enjoyed competition, as well as crafts and other activities. Mindy Kearns | Courtesy

Wheelchair races were a part of the Special Olympics Friday, held at Wahama High School.
https://www.mydailyregister.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/24/2018/05/web1_5.12-Olym-8.jpgWheelchair races were a part of the Special Olympics Friday, held at Wahama High School. Mindy Kearns | Courtesy

Wahama Special Olympics Buddy Payton McFarland helps an athlete with a name tag prior to the beginning of the games.
https://www.mydailyregister.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/24/2018/05/web1_5.12-Olym-11.jpgWahama Special Olympics Buddy Payton McFarland helps an athlete with a name tag prior to the beginning of the games. Mindy Kearns | Courtesy

Every athlete was honored at the Mason County Special Olympics 50th Annual Field Day, held Friday at Wahama High School. Pictured are the New Haven Elementary Olympians as they receive their medals.
https://www.mydailyregister.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/24/2018/05/web1_5.12-Olym.jpgEvery athlete was honored at the Mason County Special Olympics 50th Annual Field Day, held Friday at Wahama High School. Pictured are the New Haven Elementary Olympians as they receive their medals. Mindy Kearns | Courtesy

Special Olympics athletes competed in the game of bocce ball.
https://www.mydailyregister.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/24/2018/05/web1_5.12-Oym-9.jpgSpecial Olympics athletes competed in the game of bocce ball. Mindy Kearns | Courtesy

Wahama High School student and Special Olympics buddy Jackson Hall, left, is pictured as he challenges an athlete to a tug of war at Friday’s 50th Annual Field Day.
https://www.mydailyregister.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/24/2018/05/web1_5.12-Tug.jpgWahama High School student and Special Olympics buddy Jackson Hall, left, is pictured as he challenges an athlete to a tug of war at Friday’s 50th Annual Field Day. Mindy Kearns | Courtesy
Celebrating 50 years of Special Olympics

By Mindy Kearns

Special to the Register

Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at mindykearns1@hotmail.com.

Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at mindykearns1@hotmail.com.

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