Foundation Golf Outing Special Guest Illustrates Success of Inclusive Sports

On June 27, Special Olympics Illinois’ Foundation Board held its 2nd Annual Foundation Golf Outing at Westmoreland Country Club in Wilmette.

Susie Doyens and Tony Colletta
Susie Doyens and Tony Coletta

The sold-out event, which raised $107,000 to support the organization’s Foundation, was organized by a committee chaired by Tony Coletta of Prudential Capital Group. Thirty teams of four – mainly from Chicagoland businesses – enjoyed a beautiful day on this outstanding course. View photos from event.

Throughout the day, golfers had the opportunity to meet and socialize with SOILL athletes Ela Stoklosa and Kyle Tuckey. Special guest Susie Doyens, a former SOILL athlete who currently lives and competes in Florida, golfed with her Unified golf partner Illinois Law Enforcement Torch Run Assistant Director Tom Reasoner.

Susie also spoke at the dinner reception about how Special Olympics has transformed her life. She told those in attendance about how she is extremely shy and wouldn’t speak aloud to anyone other than her parents. But, she loves Special Olympics so much that she wanted “to tell everyone about the joy and satisfaction I get from it.” Through Special Olympics, Susie has made lifelong friends, including Reasoner who has been her Unified golf partner for 13 years, both in Illinois and Florida.

Through her experiences with Special Olympics, Susie has been the subject of a video, Public Service Announcement, was interviewed by Golf Digest and was featured in a book called “Stand UP.” She has had the chance to meet professional golfers like Phil Mickelson, Ben Crane, Russell Henley, Webb Simpson and even golf legend Arnold Palmer.

Susie Doyens and her Unified golf partner Tom Reasoner

But it was a moment at a recent competition that Susie said she’ll cherish forever and one that illustrates the true spirit of Special Olympics. “Last August at Area Golf Competition, my partner Tom and I came in second place. It was the first time we didn’t get first place. I had tears in my eyes. The lady giving out the medals asked me ‘What is wrong?’ I told her ‘Nothing is wrong. These are tears of joy!’ Tom and I had just gotten our first birdie ever!” The smile on Susie’s face in relaying that moment made an impact on all in attendance at the Foundation Golf Outing.

Thanks to our sponsors – Gold Sponsor: Wells Fargo; and Silver Sponsors: DiMeo Schneider, P Jay & Jenny Fortner, GT Mobility, Interior Investments LLC, Jones Lang LaSalle, MAKE Corporation, OCC and Voyage Financial.

The ILSO Foundation was established as a 509(a)(3) supporting Foundation to support individuals with intellectual disabilities served by Special Olympics Illinois with an alternative revenue stream in perpetuity. The Foundation provides resources and an appropriate level of support for the organization’s goals – Improve the Athlete Experience, Reach More Athletes and Raise More Resources.