Athletic Achievement Banquet

Volunteer of the Year, Melinda Hauser

Family of the Year, Kieffer Family

Coach of the Year, Kim Carr 

Athlete of the Year, Drew Mattingly
O n August 13, Special Olympics Indiana – Ripley Ohio Dearborn Counties celebrated eleven years as an accredited local program of Special Olympics Indiana and the achievements of its athletes, coaches, families and volunteers at its annual Athletic Achievement Banquet. Special awards included family of the year, coach of the year, volunteer of the year, and athlete of the year. By receiving their delegation-level awards, each recipient is nominated for a state-level Special Olympics award.

Receiving their five year service pins were Class A Volunteers, Justin Uhlman and Lyndsay Laub and receiving their ten year were Curtis Johnson, Jesse Laub, Jimmy Laub, Angie Schuman and Ron Schuman.

The Spirit of Special Olympics Awards program is an annual recognition program for athletes, coaches, families, and volunteers who have demonstrated outstanding support of Special Olympics Indiana – Ripley Ohio Dearborn Counties.

When not on the playing field as an athlete, coach or unified partner, you can find our Family of the Year, the Kieffer Family, volunteering at our Walkin’ Taco booth assembling tacos, or at our Breakfast for Champions serving pancakes and sausage links and cleaning tables, and at our Discovery Camp serving as a camp counselor or assisting with various activities. You may also find them in the stands or on the sidelines with grandma during practice and at competition, cheering their athlete and fellow athletes on.

Presented with the Volunteer of the Year award was Melinda Hauser. Her involvement quickly grew to providing transportation to other athletes to and from practices and/or competitions, sometimes going completely out of her way to do so. When our Program finds itself short athletes to fill a roster, she is first to begin making calls. Many times recruiting new athletes for our Program and that’s exactly why our Program Coordinator appointed her to our Management Team as our Outreach Coordinator.

The honor of Coach of the Year was bestowed upon Kim Carr. She has had a tremendous impact on the lives of all our athletes; by encouraging them to succeed, keeping a positive attitude, helping to develop self-confidence, ambition, a sound training ethic, and other skills necessary for success on and off the basketball court. She has a reputation among her respective peers for fair play, good sportsmanship, and develops these attributes in the athletes she coaches.

Athlete of the Year, Drew Mattingly, has been involved in Special Olympics since the formation of our local Program in 2005. At the young age of eight years old, he started his participation in the sports of bowling and softball skills. Challenged with Autism, the introduction of something new or a change in routine tends to be difficult. His knowledge of the sports he played and the concept of team were limited. For the past ten years, his participation only included bowling and basketball, with a short attempt at golf, until recently.

As our Program grew over those ten years, so did this athlete – physically and mentally. He has become our “Shrek”, standing well over six feet tall and with a heart just as big. He has come to accept change easier, developed good sportsmanship, and a better understanding of the concept of team. It’s not uncommon to see him stop in the middle of a basketball game to help a fallen player of the opposing team. Over the past six months, his willingness to try new sports has grown and expanded his participation to include the sports of equestrian and swimming.

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