Kudos to Special Olympians on hard work, success

Local youths shined in the spotlight recently, earning recognition for months of hard work and dedicated effort. Honors received served as rewards for their time and sweat, and provided smiles and joy.

Yes, 4-H members experienced all that and were recognized at Bartholomew County’s fair, but another group had a similar type experience: the Bartholomew/Brown/Jennings track team that competed in the Special Olympics State Summer Games in June at Indiana State University in Terre Haute.

Fifteen boys and girls ages 9 and older competed in the Games, which was the season-ending event.

The team had practiced once a week since March, with coach Andy Hunnicutt working with them on proper technique and acclimating them to the starter’s gun. Hunnicutt, a veteran coach of Special Olympics sports, was serving as track head coach for the first time.

The youths competed in an area competition in Seymour prior to the state meet, serving as a warm-up for the biggest meet of the year.

And on that big stage they shined, winning a combined 24 medals — including seven gold — and 20 ribbons. That’s impressive, and an indication of a drive to succeed.

The Special Olympians, coaches, volunteers and organizers who worked hard for a great outcome and gave their all deserve a round of applause for a job well done.

Special Olympics provides opportunities for achievement and confidence through sports, making a difference in the lives of many who have intellectual disabilities. The success of the Bartholomew/Brown/Jennings team during this past season is testament of that.