This is a letter sent to Bob Johnson, president and CEO of Special Olympics Massachusetts from a Winter Games Volunteer; Jason Smith, USCG Sector Boston. It shows just how much being at a Special Olympics event can impact someone;
Thank you and your wife for speaking with me yesterday afternoon and for letting the Coast Guard be part of SOMA’s Winter Olympics. Everyone that participated had only positive comments and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. As for me, there’s always a moment, when I realize why I love SO. I did not catch her name but there was one young female athlete (picture attached) during the bowling awards that was hysterical for receiving an award that I only assumed was gold.
She could not even bring herself to get up on the award stands, hugging every Coast Guard member and spectator on the way with a smile that never ended. She had tears rolling off her face and was screaming with excitement. Everyone was taking pictures when I thought there was a mistake in where they had placed her but I was wrong… she was so excited to receive her 5th place ribbon…. The excitement did not end and she continued with contagious tears of joy.
That’s what drives me and so many other volunteers that realize we don’t just do it for them; we do it for how they make us feel and how they teach us to live. You have so many brave athletes that lead challenging lives yet still radiate so much love even when they come in last place. I’m glad we were able to be involved in the part of their live where they are recognized, accepted, and respected for how they benefit our society!
I’m a fan. Thanks again for giving me the opportunity to remember why.