Join Saturday’s ‘Special’ tournament

Published 11:50 am Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The annual golf tournament to benefit Special Olympics Area 7 will be Saturday May 21 at Duncan Park Golf Course, and this tournament keeps getting better each year.

This is the opportunity of a lifetime for 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 golfers say it’s the most fun they have ever had playing golf!

As in the past, our community’s generosity is so 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. Last year was really special for five athletes that 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.

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We had three swimmers competing in aquatics, Chandler Warren, Haley Freeman and Jordan Couch. One athlete, Sadie Saunders, competed in bocce, and Angelina Jackson competed in track and field events. All brought home gold, silver and bronze medals in their events.

There are 16,000 special athletes registered in Mississippi, and 34 were selected to represent Mississippi.

We had five from Area 7 attending, and all this was possible because of the determination and hard work of our athletes and the generosity of our community. The weekend of May 13-15, we will be going to Biloxi at Keesler Air Force Base for the summer games. Also, the annual Torch Run for Special Olympics will be at the gazebo on the Natchez Bluff at 9 a.m. Thursday, sponsored by the Adams County Sheriff’s Department.

Please come to cheer on the deputies as they run the torch through the streets of downtown Natchez on its way to Biloxi, and purchase a torch run T-shirt. Walmart of Natchez will be providing refreshments for this event.

This year, we are having two flights to allow more golfers a chance to play. First tee time is 8:30 a.m. and the second starts at 1 p.m. The morning flight is already full, but we have plenty of team spots for the afternoon flight. Cost per team is $300 for a four-man team, $350 for a team and hole sponsor or $75 per player.

If you can’t play, you can sponsor a hole for $100 or a Special Olympic athlete for $75, or you can donate door prizes or just make a donation in support of this event. Lunch, refreshments and plenty of door prizes ,as well as a silent auction will be included. At noon, we will have our ball drop for $3,000 cash and $500 for second-closest ball.

Tickets are still available at $20 each and are available from any of our committee members, or you can contact me for your ticket. Only 350 will be sold, so hurry before they are all gone! All funds raised from the golf tournament stay local to provide programs for our athletes Special Olympic sporting events.

There are so many supporters that make this annual event a huge success. First and most importantly is the committee helping me organize and work behind the scenes that make this tournament one of the best and most popular in our area every year. Most are parents of our athletes, and without their help and hard work this tournament would not be possible.

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 would like to help out, we are 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 for your generosity 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.