UPSHUR COUNTY – Thirty-two Upshur County Special Olympians, plus their coaches and support staff, received a police escort of town Friday morning from the Buckhannon Police Department on their way to participate in the summer games in Charleston over the weekend.
According to Director of Upshur County Special Olympics Alisa Lively, the athletes were to participate in opening ceremony activities at Haddad Park with athletes from 40 other counties in West Virginia.
“These athletes give their all,” Lively said.
Athletes competed in track and field events, swimming and baggo.
“They work really hard to compete,” Mary Elizabeth Bolton, a volunteer said.
Lively said there are no paid positions with Upshur County Special Olympics, and money that is raised for the county program stays in Upshur County.
The program costs $12,000 to $14,000 a year to maintain. The only ongoing funds received by the program is a $750 quarterly contribution from the United Way.
If you would like to make a contribution or sponsor an athlete, call 304-437-5214 for more information.
Upshur County Special Olympics, part of Special Olympics West Virginia provides year-round sports training and competition in a variety of well-coached, Olympics-type sports for children and adults who are mentally challenged. The athletes are given continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in the sharing of gifts, skills and friendships with their families, other Special Olympic Athletes, and the community. Athlete Training is an integral part of the Special Olympics program. One of the founding principles of the Special Olympics movement states that “People with intellectual disabilities can, with proper instruction and encouragement, enjoy, learn and benefit from participation in individual and team sports. Consistent training under the guidance of qualified coaches, with emphasis on physical conditioning, is essential to the development of sports skills.”