Special Olympics receives donation
Richmond Register - 2/5/2020
Feb. 5--For Crystal Tudor, an athlete with the Madison County Special Olympics, being a part of the Special Olympics team is like a second family where she doesn't have to worry about what others think.
And with the help of fundraising efforts from the Knights of Columbus Madison County chapter, a global catholic fraternal service organization, Tudor and other special needs athletes can thrive.
Tuesday afternoon, several members of the local chapter presented three athletes with a $2,000 check to help with the costs of the program, such as uniforms and transportation costs.
"The thing I like about Special Olympics is we get to be around people and don't have to worry or be ashamed of what our disability is," Tudor, who bowls, golfs and does track and field, said. "If we make a mistake, there isn't going to be someone standing there laughing at us, they are there to pick us up. They are there to say, 'Hey you know what you made a mistake but that is okay. We will get 'em next time.' You know we are a family."
A mother of an athlete spoke at Tuesday's parks board meeting about the importance of the donation and continued support from the community.
"As a parent I would like to thank you all for what you do for our individuals," she said. "They are our kids no matter what age they are... We know you all are keeping them in your thoughts and you are keeping them going. There are so many of (the athletes) that are living on fixed incomes and cannot afford to have a uniform or be transported to or from places. This really does help us help them feel better about themselves being able to compete. Sometimes it doesn't matter if you win or you lose."
Her son, Tyler Gay, participates in five sports with special olympics including basketball, bowling, track and field, golf and softball.
Another athlete, Jason Smith, was present at the meeting and discussed his involvement as a teammate and team manager.
Smith participates in bowling and golf, "when it isn't raining outside." But this year, he is also a team manager for the basketball's "B" Team.
"Since I am not playing, I like to help out and be a team member," he said.
"That is a good thing, too," said Erin Moore, director of parks and administration. "If some of the athletes don't want to play a specific sport, they can still hang out with everybody and be involved and be managers if they are able to."
At the end of the check presentation, Jon McChesney, the parks board's chair, thanked the Knights of Columbus.
"We want to thank you all," he said. "We realize there is a lot of time and effort that goes into fundraising and your consistent support is very much appreciated and valued and we certainly want to thank you all."
The Knights of Columbus have been involved with the Special Olympics for more than 50 years since June 1962 when Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the sister of John F. Kennedy, who was a member of the group, held a summer day camp for young people with intellectual disabilities in her backyard.
Since then, on a national level, the Knights of Columbus have donated more than $600 million to programs for people with physical disabilities.
--Newest member of the parks board, Rita Smart, sat in on her first meeting since being appointed by the City Commission in January.
--Wayne Winkler, interim parks and grounds director, gave his first parks board update.
--Matt Cecil with the Madison County Youth Soccer Board spoke noting the growth that the group had seen in recent years. Since 2016, the group has grown over 20% with an expected 15% increase in the next season.
--Erin Moore and Jaime Moore gave updates about the park and recreation departments year in review highlighting their events, programs and accomplishments.
--The group is closer to creating their Master Plan for 2020. McChesney said he had talked with city officials and that surveys would be sent out soon with completion slated for March or April.
The next parks board meeting will be held March 3, noon, at the Irvinton Home located at 345 Lancaster Ave., Richmond.
Reach Taylor Six at 624-6623 or follow her on Twitter at @TaylorSixRR.
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