LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Special Olympics offers thanks to Columbia, volunteers, sponsors

Friday, June 8, 2012 | 6:00 a.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — On behalf of Special Olympics Missouri, please extend my deepest gratitude to the volunteers, organizers, sponsors and spectators from Columbia and the surrounding areas that made the 2012 State Summer Games an incredible success. We couldn't have done it without each and every one of them. Everyone, from athletes to staff members, benefited from the endless hospitality and support from the community.

About 2,500 athletes and coaches from around the state suited up for competition in aquatics, basketball, bowling, powerlifting, track and field and volleyball. Facilities were provided by MU at the MU Student Recreation Complex and Walton Stadium, by Columbia College at Southwell Complex and by AMF Town & Country Lanes. Athletes received free health screenings at Healthy Athletes, enjoyed games, crafts and parades at Victory Village, played bingo, and relaxed in the evening at the very popular athlete dance. Everyone had a wonderful week. 

The Columbia community has always been kind to Special Olympics, and the city really rolled out the red carpet for this event. We saw an outpouring of friendly faces come support our athletes, making this year’s State Summer Games in Columbia a true community event. The buzz created by the local media and the inspiring stories that were told about our athletes and volunteers were a reminder of what a caring, nurturing place Columbia is. We cannot wait to see all of you again next year.

The State Summer Games would not be possible without the generosity of our sponsors, of course. Our statewide sponsors include the Knights of Columbus, Law Enforcement Torch Run and Shop 'n Save. The premier-level sponsors for the 2012 Summer Games included the Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Columbia Missourian, Levy Restaurants, Southwest Dairy Farmers and Zimmer Radio Group.

Mark Musso is president and CEO of Special Olympics Missouri.

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