The Liberty County Recreational Department hosted the 2019’s spring Special Olympics on May 1, getting the month off to a great start. The Special Olympics are an annual event that allows Special Olympians a chance to compete against and mingle with their peers. It also allows their community to show their support as they cheer for the athletes.
Competitors ranged from elementary to young adults, with individuals competing against their own age groups. This year, 115 competitors participated in the Spring Games- Track and Field events. They came from all over Liberty and Long County as well as from Fort Stewart.
This certainly isn’t the first time that Liberty County has hosted the area’s Special Olympics. The county has been doing so consistently since 1990, with spring events including track and field, and the fall games including bowling. The Special Olympics organization that sets up the event relies on donations from individual businesses and is supported, though not financially , by the school system.
Competitors were also supported by family members. In the past, competitors were given physicals sponsored by the organization; however, recently parents have had to arrange physicals for their athletes. Another new factor in the Special Olympics is the inclusion of resource booths, such as the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP), which helps active duty members balance their job and caring for a family member with special needs. This help includes educational, emotional or medical.
One hundred volunteers helped make this event possible as well. Volunteer Brent Robbins, said this, “I volunteered because I grew up around special needs. My brother had special needs. I just love them. I’m good with them; they’re fun to be around.”