A Thank You to SOILL Volunteers
As we celebrate National Volunteer Week, we wanted to take the opportunity to shout THANK YOU to some key volunteers across the state of Illinois.
First, we highlighted Wendy. Wendy started volunteering with Special Olympics Illinois at a spring track and field event in 1994, and she was immediately hooked. Wendy has volunteered at state competitions for softball throw, Alpine skiing, and Buddy Baseball. She currently volunteers for the Special Olympics Illinois- Region B Spring Games softball throw event.
When asked why she loves volunteering for SOILL, Wendy said, "What's not to love? The athletes are amazing, strong, dedicated competitors. Their enthusiasm is contagious and I love being a part of that."
Wendy has also been heavily involved with the Chicago Ducky Derby and plans to volunteer again this year. We can't thank you enough for your time and dedication to Special Olympics Illinois, Wendy. Special Olympics wouldn't be what it is today without people like you!
Next, we learned about Leonard. Leonard started coaching with Special Olympics Illinois in 1989. He enjoys the track and field, powerlifting, and bocce competitions. Leonard has been a bocce coach at two USA Games, and he will coach athletics this year at the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games.
When asked why he loves volunteering for Special Olympics, Leonard said, "I have seen first-hand the many benefits it has provided to a population that has fewer opportunities than their peers. I have seen athletes who originally were very shy grow to become vocal proponents of Special Olympics, either by becoming a Global or Health Messenger. Others took their Special Olympics sports training very seriously and did additional training on their own, which led to them lose excess weight or reduce the amount of medications they needed to take."
Thank you Leonard for your time and dedication to Special Olympics. We appreciate all that you do!
And, we met Sue. Sue has been with Special Olympics for 18 years. Some of her favorite events include Special Olympics Illinois Region J bowling, Spring Games, and Summer Games.
When asked why she loves volunteering for Special Olympics Illinois, Sue said, "I have always been a firm believer in the service of others. I started volunteering to instill in my own children that same belief and have them experience the special feeling you get when you truly help others." Sue's daughter, Susan (pictured), is also a long-time volunteer at Special Olympics Illinois.
Thank you, Sue, for all you do to support our athletes! Special Olympics Illinois wouldn't be the same without you!
Let us now tell you about Officer Trent. Trent has been involved with Special Olympics Illinois for eight years through Illinois Law Enforcement Torch Run. He enjoys many of our events but says that gymnastics is his favorite. "I can't even do a summersault," Trent admits, "so watching the SOILL athletes do what they do is impressive."
Trent has worked for the Collinsville Illinois Police Department for nine years. He says, "Special Olympics helps remind me why I became a police officer and helps keep me grounded. I joined this profession to help, serve, and support others. Spending time with athletes, their families, and the volunteers always makes me have the biggest and goofiest smile. I always look forward to the next event and helping out wherever I can. Special Olympics has provided me friendships and memories that will last a lifetime."
We can't thank you enough, Officer Trent, for all that you do for our athletes!
It’s true, Special Olympics would not be the same without our AMAZING volunteers. We appreciate Wendy, Leonard, Sue, Trent, and ALL volunteers who help serve our more than 21,000 athletes across the state of Illinois. Thank you!
If you are interested in learning more about our upcoming volunteer opportunities, please visit our VolunteerHub page here. You can also see how you can get involved in our upcoming Summer Games here.