The Statesboro Kiwanis Rodeo may be over, but local club members aren’t slowing down. They’ll don their signature colors for the Council for Exceptional Children’s 2012 Spring Special Olympic Games May 4 at Statesboro High School. The event will begin with an athlete parade at 9:00 a.m. and continue with competitive events until 1 p.m.
The County’s fall, winter and spring Special Olympic Games would not be possible without community members and organizations, like the Statesboro Kiwanis Club, who are willing to serve as volunteers. “We couldn’t do it without them,” said Sam DiGregorio, a behavioral analyst for Bulloch County Schools, who coordinates the games.
“We’ve done it all,” said Kiwanian Charles Dunn, who serves on the club’s 10-member Special Olympics Committee. “We’ll go anywhere they need us,” said James Dutrow. And they’ve done just that. In the 15 years they’ve volunteered with the event, they have done everything from staff the records tent, cook food, pitch softballs, to hold the stopwatches and victory tape for track and field races. Their bright yellow attire has become synonymous with Special Olympics.
A job of equal importance is their role as cheerleader. “It’s always a happy time,” said Kiwanian Gene Murkinson. “They’re (Special Olympians) always happy, and they make us happy.” “It’s great seeing them do things they didn’t realize they could do,” added Dutrow.
The Kiwanis Club has formed such a bond with these students that they serve them in other ways too. During the annual Kiwanis Ogeechee Fair they host “Wednesday Morning,” a time when special needs children from throughout the area are invited to enjoy the Fair all to themselves. “Some of the kids remember you from Special Olympics,” said Kiwanian Danny Foglio. “We help them on rides; give them hats. It’s great.”
The Kiwanis Club has also made financial donations to special education areas within the school system. Most recently they donated $1,000 to the school system’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing (D/HH) program.