O n August 15, Special Olympics Indiana – Ripley Ohio Dearborn Counties celebrated ten 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.
The Athletic Achievement Banquet was held at the Sunman American Legion. Special guests included , Jeff Mohler, Vice President of Programs and Chief Operating Officer of Special Olympics Indiana, Central Regional Director of Special Olympics Indiana, Beth Schweigel, Special Olympics Indiana Area 9 Director, Maria Sassaman and Area Competitions Director, Steve Sassaman, and Dearborn Community Foundation Program Director, Denise Sedler, Bill McDonald of the Osgood Lions Club and Knights of Columbus, and representing the Lawrenceburg council of the Knights of Columbus was Jeff Lacey.
Receiving their ten year service pins were Class A Volunteers, Ed Sellers, Jerry Beiersdorfer, and Jeanette Mattingly.
In recognition of their continued support over the past ten years the following organizations were recognized: Dearborn Community Foundation, Lions Clubs of Milan, Versailles, Osgood, and Batesville, and the Knights of Columbus councils of Aurora, Batesville, Brights, Lawrenceburg, and Osgood.
Also recognized with a “Special Friend” award was Brenda Strimple, Library Media Specialist at South Ripley High School. Since 2010, Ms. Strimple has assisted students in organizing their “Cool School Challenge” Polar Plunge team; to date SRHS students have raised at total of $12, 823.
Last October, Special Olympics Indiana rolled out a new Coach Education Program that adheres to the basic standards necessary and essential for being a Special Olympics coach, as defined by Special Olympics North America. Through the program coaches gain new skills, which will provide better opportunities for our athletes. The program currently provides three levels of coaches. Recognized for achieving their Level 2 certification were Lyndsay Laub, Pam Minnich, Jeanette Mattingly, Denise Burdette, Vince Kieffer, and Greg Townsend.
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.
The Family of the Year award was given to the Nuhring family in which every member participates in Special Olympics. Brooke, SO athlete, has participated since 2005, training and competing in the sports of track and field, bowling, corn toss, and aquatics.
Presented with the Volunteer of the Year award was Jesse Laub. Jesse’s relationship with Special Olympics began ten years ago, when he was a sophomore at Lawrenceburg High School. His service ranges from coaching aquatics to serving on the Management Team.
The honor of Coach of the Year was bestowed upon Tim Paul. Tim has served Special Olympics Indiana – Ripley Ohio Dearborn Counties for six years. He started his Special Olympics coaching career serving as an assistant coach for bowling and was instrumental in starting the Program’s newest sport, powerlifting.
Athlete of the Year, David Paul, has surpassed everyone’s expectations, including his physician’s. He epitomizes the spirit of a true athlete by his determination and aspiration for a better self. He strives at every practice and competition to “out do” his personal best. He is an athlete that truly exemplifies the Special Olympics spirit of skill, courage, sharing and joy, and demonstrates an overall commitment to Special Olympics.
Program Coordinator, Greg Townsend, ended the night’s celebration with a challenge to those in attendance. A challenge to recruit one of the thousands of SO eligible individuals in the three county area still sitting on the sidelines.