(BEDFORD) – Lawrence County Special Olympics won 1st Place in their virtual competition in summer games recently.
The Summer Games Sports and Fitness Challenge in the Special Olympics are awarded in each of the 10 areas. The awards were selected by the Board of Directors and honored at the State Conference.
Area 7 Volunteer Awards:
- Volunteer of Year – Katie Gibbens, Lawrence County
- Family of the Year – Hillenburg Family from Monroe County
- Coach of Year – Jessica Poindexter
- Athlete of Year – Justin Brown from Monroe County
Bedford Walmart Store #1026 gave the group a donation to continue their daily virtual fitness activities and cruise-in events twice each month.
This Saturday, the group held their cruise-in at Tropical Sno in Bedford.
Lawrence County Special Olympics participate in numerous sports, both during the summer and winter months. These sports include baseball, softball, basketball, volleyball, cornhole, track & field, flag football, long-distance walking, wheel-chair races, and skills.
“Currently, we are doing a virtual fitness challenge because we want to make sure our athletes are kept safe and healthy during COVID-19,” said Lori Branham, Lawrence County Special Olympics Director.
“We are currently not doing large events, but we have reached out to all of our athletes doing drive-by visits and doing cruise-ins like what we have done today about every two weeks,” added Branham.
Lawrence County Special Olympics has been active since 2017.
Anyone wishing to support the programs of Lawrence County Special Olympics can go to their Facebook page and Twitter by searching for “Indiana Special Olympics Lawrence County.”
If you have any questions you can call them at 812-675-1439. The organization is always looking for donors, coaches, and athletes.
“Last year, we purchased basketball uniforms to which we received a donation through Walmart. This year, Walmart awarded them a grant for $2,250 and local donors helped support the cruise-in today, ” said Lawrence County Special Olympics Treasurer Sammi Ragsdale.
The organization has 60-70 athletes and the organization tries not to create a financial burden on the families that take part in these programs.
The organization provides them with uniforms, equipment needs, and makes sure the proper equipment is a top priority.
“All the donations are important, especially at this time.” The organization has not been able to hold fundraisers due to COVID-19 concerns.
Donations of $5 or $10 are 100 percent used toward the organization; none of the donations go to administrative uses. These donations remain within Lawrence County.
Everyone is a volunteer within the organization.
There is a need for more volunteers. All a person has to do is submit an application. The person must have a background check, which takes up to about two weeks to get results from. The person then is reviewed by a committee and then put to work.
“This is a labor of love with these athletes. A lot of the athletes do not have family around. They are able to get out and participate in activities and be a part of something. We all love the athletes and we are a huge family,” concluded Lori Branham.
“We are going to win the Nationals,” said Danny Baker, who is one of the long-time athletes of the program. “The Holy Spirit helps us compete and we all love one another when we play against one another.”