Congratulations to the 2017 Hall of Fame presented by Comfort Dental inductees!
Male Athlete of the Year
Luke is an all-around Special Olympics Colorado athlete that has participated in Special Olympics for more than 15 years. Luke competes in basketball, skiing, snowboarding, golf, and track and field. He is a three-year Evergreen High School Varsity Letter winner and competes as an “expert” skier on the slopes. Luke’s coach Maren Schreiber describes him as a top-notch athlete who works hard every day to keep improving his athletic skills.” With basketball being his favorite sport, Luke said he “loves both offense and defense, and loves playing with his best friend Alex.”
Luke not only dominates on the court, but is also a role model and is always willing to help his teammates succeed. Luke’s teammates said he is a “kind and supportive team leader, plays with his heart and never gives up.” Luke is a true sports fanatic and can recite statistics from any Colorado sports team.
Luke’s parent are extremely proud of his successes. Luke was a very quiet child and Special Olympics helped him come out of his shell. Luke’s father Clem Williams stated, “When Luke was a small child, I didn’t know what to expect from him. Special Olympics has allowed us to have a very special bond when we are skiing and snowboarding together, even though Luke has to wait for me at the bottom of the mountain.
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Female Athlete of the Year
Holly has participated in Special Olympics for the past 15 years and competes in cycling, snowshoeing, bowling, and track and field. Her parents Jim and Sherry are extremely involved in her endeavors and both coach in the sports she competes in. Holly’s mom Sherry stated “We are so grateful for Special Olympics because it is the one place where we feel safe and no one is judging us. We are part of an encouraging environment and everyone is kind to our daughter and our family.
Holly is one the most positive people you will meet and has a huge smile whenever you see her competing and training. Holly’s parents shared that she is the happiest when she is doing anything that involves Special Olympics. Along with sports competitions, Holly’s family helps raise money for Special Olympics Colorado athletes during the Polar Plunge and other fundraising events.
Award sponsored by:
JOHN F. KENNEDY HIGH SCHOOL
Doug Fulton Unified Champion Schools Kindness Award
John F. Kennedy (JFK) High School just started their seventh year as a Special Olympics Unified Champion School. They offer their students with and without disabilities the opportunity to play on Unified Sports teams including soccer, flag football, bowling and cheerleading.
Not only do you see JFK students participating in sports, but the entire school supports a unified model which allows students with and without disabilities to come together and share the importance of inclusion and respect. The student council makes posters for the Special Olympics Colorado State Flag Football Tournament teams and are “fans in the stands” that cheer on the athletes. JFK High School Senior Unified Partner James stated, “Watching our JFK athletes succeed and have fun together makes my heart happy and makes me want to be a better person.”
Beyond school activities, JFK High School students and staff take part in Special Olympics Colorado fundraising efforts including the Unified Relay Across America, the Polar Plunge as well as their own fund raising efforts. We commend JFK High School for bringing the spirit of Special Olympics to their school, creating life-changing memories for all.
THE WRIGHT FAMILY
Family of the Year
The Wright Family has been involved with Special Olympics Colorado in the Western Region for over 14 years. They volunteer their time as family members, coaches, unified partners, fundraisers and medical area management team members. Chris is a Master Trooper with the Colorado State Patrol and is on the Law Enforcement Torch Run Executive Council. He had the honor of carrying the torch as part of the final leg leading up to the Special Olympics World Games in Korea. Athena is on the Western Regional Management Team and coordinates the Young Athletes Program in Mesa County. Along with Chris, Athena coaches SOCO swimming and softball teams. Chris and Athena’s sons Dayton, Parker and Wayne, have participated as Unified Partners, coaches and volunteers at events.
COLORADO ALPINE SKI TEAM
Volunteers of the Year
The Colorado Alpine Ski Team is a group of volunteers that have been running the Special Olympics Colorado alpine and snowboard training and competitions in Copper Mountain for more than 20 years. They train SOCO athletes every Saturday in the Winter and organize the SOCO Regional and State Winter Games as part of the Games Organizing Committee. The Colorado Alpine Ski Team spends countless hours providing quality training and competition to Special Olympics Colorado athletes so that they have the best experience possible. You will see them setting up race courses, keeping time and statistics as well as cheering on all of the athletes at Winter Games. This team of more than 20 volunteers makes Winter Games possible with their undying commitment to Special Olympics Colorado athletes and families. It is for these reasons we’re extremely to induct the Colorado Alpine Ski Team into the Special Olympics Colorado Hall of Fame as the 2017 Volunteers of the Year.
Award sponsored by:
TLC LEARNING CENTER
Young Athletes Program of the Year
The TLC Learning Center has participated in the Special Olympics Colorado Young Athlete program for the past six years, serving more than 600 students with and without disabilities during that time. As a leader in inclusive education, TLC Learning Center contributes creative and innovative ideas and suggestions to continue improving the quality of the Young Athletes Program. They also promote community engagement by encouraging their families to attend other Young Athletes community events.
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Community Partner of the Year
Subway has been heavily involved with Special Olympics Colorado for the past three years. During that time they have served as an Annual Partner as well as the presenting sponsor of the Plane Pull, an event that has raised more than $400,000 for Special Olympics athletes. Additionally, Subway locations statewide have donated more than $40,000 worth of healthy meals to ensure that our athletes, coaches and volunteers are well-fed. Beyond their generous financial and in-kind contributions, Subway team members and their families have spent countless hours preparing, delivering, and serving the meals, in addition to volunteering at competitions and events.
PARKER POLICE DEPARTMENT
Law Enforcement Agency of the Year
The Parker Police Department has been a longtime supporter of Special Olympics Colorado and has been an active Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) partner since 2003. Over the past 14 years, Parker law enforcement officials have participated in every law enforcement torch run event including the Torch Run, the Plane Pull, the Polar Plunge and numerous Tip-A-Cop events. They are always in the lead for highest fundraising Tip-A-Cop Agency, and won the Red Robin Competition in 2016. Under the leadership of Chief King and Deb Daily, the Parker Police Department is not only one of the top ten agencies for fundraising, but are the model agency for exemplifying acceptance and inclusion with our athletes and the Parker community.
Their events often include all of the staff at the Police Department along with City Officials and their Public Safety Department. Not only are they a part of our Special Olympics Colorado family through LETR, but a few staff members also serve as coaches and mentors to SOCO athletes. They hold the Kops and Kids Softball Game every year where the Parker Power softball team plays unified with the Parker Police Department and other surrounding departments. The impact of the Parker Police Department and their caring and enthusiasm for Special Olympics Colorado athletes and their community cannot be overstated.
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ESPY Award of Courage
At age 5 Jason was diagnosed with retinoblastoma, a form of eye cancer. Despite undergoing Chemotherapy, the cancer took Jason’s left eye. Two years later, Jason was diagnosed with an intellectual disability. He began competing in Special Olympics and found a place where he could be himself and show the world his amazing athletic talent. He made friends, and began communicating with others. When Jason was just 14 years old his mother suddenly passed away. At age 16, he was diagnosed with osteocarcoma, a form of bone cancer. Jason underwent chemotherapy, yet still lost 3 ribs. At age 18, Jason lost his father to cancer. After losing both of their parents, Jason and his siblings moved to Colorado to live with relatives. He immediately joined the Special Olympics Colorado family and began competing in soccer, softball, basketball and flag football.
That same year, Jason was diagnosed with osteocarcoma once again. This time the cancer had spread to his leg. After undergoing chemotherapy his left leg was amputated. After completing his treatment, Jason was immediately back in action on the playing field, competing with the same enthusiasm, heart and determination that he has always displayed. Because for Jason, Special Olympics gives him a place where he can set his struggles aside and just be an athlete, competing alongside his friends, in sports he loves. Just two months ago, Jason was diagnosed with cancer for a fourth time. This time it is a brain tumor. The tumor has been removed and he is currently undergoing chemotherapy with the same grit, dedication and positive attitude that he puts into everything he does.
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