Saturday, 14 April 2018 16:02

Richmond County Special Olympics Spring Games; Special Olympics Celebrate 50 Years

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Richmond County Special Olympics Richmond County Special Olympics Image courtesy of Betty Gallo McIntyre

ROCKINGHAM - Now that spring is in full bloom, the Richmond County Special Olympics’ (RCSO) Spring Games are not far off.

As athletes across North Carolina are preparing for their local Spring Games, Richmond County athletes have also been preparing. The event will be held on Tuesday, May 8 at the Richmond Senior High School (RSHS) football stadium. Opening ceremonies will begin at 10 a.m. and last until all events are completed. RCSO has several events throughout the year, but this seems to be the athletes' favorite as they get to participate in numerous outdoor activities. They train for weeks and always look forward to the big day when they will compete in the 50 meter dash, softball toss, and the long jump. 

This year is extra special for RCSO as they will celebrate Special Olympics 50 year anniversary. RCSO gives children and adults with disabilities the opportunity to participate in numerous events throughout the year that they would otherwise not be able to do. Theressa Smith joined the board in 2015 and shortly thereafter took the position as the coordinator. Smith stated, “We want to make this year extra special as we celebrate the 50th anniversary.”

Smith also said that t-shirts were on sale as a fundraiser for anyone wishing to purchase one. With each t-shirt that is sold, one is automatically provided for an athlete. The sizes range from youth small, medium, and large to adult small, medium, large and extra large. These are selling for $7.00 each. Larger sizes are also available in 2X, 3X, 4X and 5X for $10.00 each. The last day to order a t-shirt will be April 17. 

Jeanine Wall, at the age of 76, has been involved in Special Olympics for 18 years. Wall first began helping when her grandson Josh Dazey, who was born with Down's Syndrone, expressed his desire to participate. At that time Richmond County didn’t host the Special Olympic events, so Dazey, at the tender age of eight, would take his love for horses to Moore County where they hosted the event in which he rode the prancing horses. Soon after, he also participated in the State Games.

Wall is a certified coach for the Special Olympics and has been coaching since the events began in Richmond County around 12 years ago. Leroy Crowder, age 82, is also a certified coach for the bowling and Bocce events. Wall stated, “If you want to stay young and active, you need to be involved in a worthwhile cause.” Coaches are needed at each event, and the events are made possible through donations as well as sponsors.

One opportunity to donate which would help in the Spring Games is individually wrapped snacks for the athletes (Little Debbie cakes, chips, etc). Tents are also needed for the event. Monetary donations are welcomed, too. All proceeds go towards RCSO events throughout the year. 

All are encouraged to come out to RSHS the morning of the event to show support to all the athletes in helping cheer them on. Coaches are needed at each event and for more information on coaching or to donate, you can contact Theressa Smith at 910-997-8379 or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Richmond County has a facebook page for upcoming local events and information in which you can view at Richmond County Special Olympics. You can also view the state website for Special Olympics at www.sonc.net.