LAURINBURG — Scotland County Special Olympics honored the athletes as well as volunteers and supporters at the annual games this week at Scotland High School.
Carol Nichols, coordinator for the event, said some 140 athletes receives at least two medals each.
There were three special awards given this year.
The Chuck Sly Award was given to Scotland High School senior Neil Hunt. This award is given to the athlete who exemplifies the motto of Special Olympics, “let me win, but if I cannot win, let me brave in the attempt.”
Hunt has participated in Special Olympics since he has been a student.
“He is graduating this year this year, but we he hope he will come back next year and participate. He has a great attitude and supports his peers.”
Nancy Williams received the Julian Butler Award. This award is given to an adult volunteer or someone who is involved with exception children. The recipient is nominated by teachers from Scotland County.
Nichols said Williams has been an assistant with Scotland County for about 30 years. She worked in the elementary schools for some years and is now at Scotland High School.
The Special Friend Award was presented to the Scottish Pilot Club of Scotland County. Nichols explained the group has supported Special Olympics for many years through monetary contributions as well as volunteers for the day.
“They are very active in the community with a lot of emphasis on those with brain injuries.
Nichols said she was pleased with the games this year.
“It went very well, great weather, great volunteers. It was successful.”
She said each athlete had a buddy that stayed with them all day. The buddy cheered on the athlete at each game, as well as taking them through Olympic Village to enjoy food and fun activities at their leisure.
“They had a great time. They were happy for each other regardless of whether they win or not,” she said.
Nichols said there was a small group of athletes who graduated last year that returned to participate.
When asked how this year’s games compared to those in the past, she said, “the competition level stays pretty much the same, but they do move up in age each year. We always have a new set of athletes.”
Nichols said she was thankful for all of the volunteers, businesses who donated to make Special Olympics successful.
“It takes a village.”
Maria D. Grandy can be reached at 910-506-3171.