WILMINGTON — “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.” — Special Olympics motto
The annual Clinton County Special Olympics track-and-field games are scheduled for Saturday morning, May 21 at the Wilmington College football field. The event will open about 9 a.m. with a parade of athletes passing by supportive rooters in the stands.
There were 72 people registered by early May as participating athletes, according to Sarah Needham, the Clinton County event coordinator through Special Olympics Ohio.
Admission is free.
Roberta Naylor, a member of the Clinton County Board of Developmental Disabilities (DD), said, “It’s a great event, very uplifting. The athletes have such a good time and so does everyone in the crowd, too.”
Some Special Olympics athletes are very competitive, said Naylor, and many of them “really enjoy the applause and cheering” they hear at the finish line.
And, being true to the last clause of the Special Olympics motto, some of the participants are “not afraid to try anything,” Naylor added.
Volunteer support staff for the upcoming Olympics is not in short supply, though the event “can always take more volunteers,” said Needham.
There is a group of volunteers with the Wilmington Church of God who will help out with all aspects of the activities. Individuals will have assigned tasks.
Wilmington High School’s Key Club is coming this year, as is the Peer Autism Team from Wilmington City Schools. Individuals volunteer on their own too, including emcee Walter “Butch” Peelle and Charlie Hargrave providing DJ and music services.
The two business sponsors are Aaron’s which is donating the water, and R+L Carriers which paid for the participant T-shirts and some extra T-shirts for sale to attendees to raise funds.
For those who haven’t attended a Special Olympics track-and-field event, there are medal award presentations.
Spectators can come and go, with the event usually over a little before noon.
Anyone interested in volunteering to assist at the event, please contact Needham at 937-382-7519 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Prior to the Clinton County Special Olympics, the Dalton Masonic Lodge 578 will hold its 10th annual 5K run or 1-mile walk to raise funds for the county Special Olympics. The run/walk will start at 8 a.m.
Race day registration begins 7 a.m. at Hermann Court near the WC football field on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way / Elm Street. Register online at www.active.com . Entry fees are $5 for the walk and $10 for the 5K run.
Most of the course is a linear park — the 4-C Bicentennial Trail — through rolling countryside. Prizes will be awarded to age groups and the top male and female runners.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768 or on Twitter @GHuffenberger.