More than 200 athletes participate in the 13th Mabank Special Olympics
Posted by : April 18, 2013| On :
See more photos from this event in the Thursday, April 18, 2013 issue of The Monitor.
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
MABANK–It was perfect weather for an outdoors event, such as the 13th annual Special Olympics.
About 200 athletes, from 10 to 63 years of age, paraded proudly down the track in Panther Stadium Saturday for the start of the iconic track and field event, lasting from 9:30 a.m. until about 3 p.m.
They represented eight organizations, who support the pursuit of excellence, and reward sincere effort with smiles, cheers, and pats on the back.
Participants benefit from the social interaction with both their peers and the general public and from the physical exertion.
Area residents Teddie and Merritt Harpole have been involved with Special Olympics in Mabank since the mid-90s.
Having a granddaughter with Down Syndrome, the couple have helped infuse energy into the program, in which retired special-Ed teacher Judy Hunter continues to play a pivotal role.
When Mabank held its first event in the spring of 2001, it was a dream come true for Mary Lou and Robert Gossom, who had wanted to reciprocate the hospitality offered by other locations by hosting an event in Mabank.
The unique Mabank support organization remains vital mainly from the success of good communication, fostered by monthly parent meetings and the ongoing generous support of community organizations.
Due to its success, local athletes are able to compete locally and statewide at meets and social events, which reinforces their personal value.
See page 6A for more photos from the heartwarming event.