Athletes participate in Special Olympics

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Left to right: Cindy Ross, Kiara Caron, and Patrick Caron approach the finish line for the 50-yard dash during a Special Olympics competition at Mount Blue High School on Friday.

By Vanessa Mosher, Correspondent

FARMINGTON — On Friday, May 12 175 Special Olympics athletes went to Mount Blue High School to show off their skills in four different categories: soccer ball dribbling, long jump, softball toss, and 50, 100, and 200 meter dash. Both adult and school programs participated and more than 200 community members volunteered to help.

All participants could choose which event, or events, they were interested in and everyone received ribbons for their participation. The day was full of triumphant smiles, encouragement, and acceptance. Children from kindergarten to 12th grade participated as well as seven surrounding adult programs.

Local police officers were there to hand out participation ribbons to athletes. High school students helped with the organization and individual games through the day. A BBQ was offered to everyone who participated as well as t-shirts. While the day started off rainy the sun came shining through for a beautiful day.

Gary Desjardins is the Area Manager for the Franklin County Special Olympics and has been involved with the program going on seven years. He says he couldn’t do it without the help from the community and the Jay AMVETS. A special mention goes to Walter O’Brien, head of the Farmington Coca-Cola plant, for donating time and time again to various events and supplying everyone with much needed water.

Left to right: Cindy Ross, Kiara Caron, and Patrick Caron approach the finish line for the 50-yard dash during a Special Olympics competition at Mount Blue High School on Friday.

(Vanessa Mosher/Franklin Journal)

Through the year members of the Jay AMVETS hold lunches, auctions, and yard sales to raise the funds necessary for these events, making them one of the most active groups in New England. They could not have chosen a more worthy cause to set their minds too, as special needs programs are often underfunded and require donations to put on any extra events for their individuals.

“The good thing about these events is it brings a lot of groups that are only with themselves most of the time all together at once, and it always turns into a big reunion for everyone,” says Desjardins about the positive impact the Special Olympics has on the individuals. Old friends reunite, new friends meet for the first time, and a deserving community gets to show off their skills and personalities.

Anyone who would like to donate to the Jay AMVETS and their Special Olympics fund may send donations to :

Jay AMVETS/ Special Olympics

P. O. Box 37

Jay, ME 04262

Other questions about volunteering may be sent to Franklin@somaine.org or you may call 207-897-5569. To view a full calendar of events for the Special Olympics you may visit www.somaine.org. Their site has information on programs, sports, events, as well as volunteer information.

Scott Sawtelle, a 9th grader, takes a huge leap in the long jump competition.

(Vanessa Mosher/Franklin Journal)

A view at the end of the day as everyone winds down and enjoys their lunches.

(Vanessa Mosher/Franklin Journal)

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