Our special athletes thank you

Published 12:05 am Sunday, June 6, 2010

The annual golf tournament to benefit Special Olympics Area 7 was Saturday, May 22, at Duncan Park Golf Course, and this tournament keeps getting better each year.

I apologize to the golfers that wanted to play when all the teams were sold out, but next year we will have a morning and afternoon start to allow everyone a chance to play in the tournament.

This was the opportunity of a lifetime for our golfers to have a chance to play golf with some of our special athletes. If you have never played golf with a special athlete you don’t know what you are missing. Most that participated said it’s the most fun they have ever had playing golf.

As in the past, our community’s generosity was overwhelming in support of this important event, and without the continued support of the community, these special athletes would not have the opportunity to participate in sporting events throughout the year.

This year will be really special for six athletes that have qualified to compete with more than 3,000 athletes from all over the United States in the National Special Olympics at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Neb., the week of July 17-24.

We have three swimmers competing in aquatics, Chandler Warren, Haley Freeman and Jordan Couch. One athlete, Sadie Saunders, will compete in bocce, and Angelina Jackson will compete in track and field events. Carl Washington was selected as an alternate in track and field. There are 16,000 special athletes registered in Mississippi and 34 were selected to represent Mississippi. We have five from Area 7 attending, and all this is possible because of the determination and hard work of our athletes and the generosity of our community.

There are so many supporters to thank for making this annual event a huge success. First and most important is the committee helping me organize and work behind the scenes to make this tournament one of the best. Most are parents of our athletes, and without their help and hard work this tournament would not have happened.

Lunch was provided by the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Randy Maxwell and the Adams County Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Chuck Mayfield, Deputies Charles Harrigill and Buddy Frank.

Plenty of refreshments were provided by many local vendors, Walmart, Pepsi Cola of Natchez and Subway of Natchez.

Extra golf carts were loaned to us by CCA, Beau Pré Country Club, Bad Boy Buggies and some local golfers. Hole in one prizes were provided by Great River Chevrolet Cadillac GMC.

Sponsor signs were donated by Southern Signs, Smith Printing provided fliers, and the ball drop was done by the Adams County Sheriff’s Office.

A new sponsor this year was Big Momma’s Barbecue who provided free hot dogs and hamburgers during the tournament.

Our biggest sponsors continue to be Walmart Supercenter in Natchez, Aaron’s Sales and Leasing, the golfers and you, the citizens and businesses of the Miss-Lou that make it all possible.

Also special thanks to The Natchez Democrat for their coverage of our events and to 95 Country Radio in Natchez and 107.1 & 104.7 Radio in Ferriday for the public service announcements about our tournament.

Your financial support and generosity for this special event is appreciated, especially by our special athletes who would never get to participate in any sporting events without your help.

If you were unable to support our tournament and would like to help out, we are still accepting donations and you can make your tax deductible donation to: Special Olympics Area 7, and mail to: Ricky Warren, 108 Tanglewood Road, Natchez, MS 39120.

We also have an account set up at Regions Bank and you can drop off your donation there.

We thank you, and most of all our special athletes thank you and send you their unconditional love for allowing them the opportunity to participate in Special Olympics sporting events.

Ricky Warren is co-chairman of the golf tournament and a proud parent of a Special Olympics Athlete.