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Military members serve community during Special Olympics track, field competition

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jacob Skovo
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs

Athletes representing local Guam schools and organizations proudly paraded down the running track during the opening ceremony of the 2016 Special Olympics Guam Track and Field Competition held March 19, at Okkodo High School in Dededo, Guam.

After the parade, the athletic events launched with a celebratory relay run of the torch that led into the lighting of the cauldron.

Nearly 320 registered athletes who competed in events such as the softball throw, shot put, long jump, footraces and wheelchair races of various lengths, and relays. Additionally, a motor activities training program engaged those with developing motor skills.

“We have been very lucky to have members of our military family volunteer as coaches, committee members and board members,” said Carole Piercy, Special Olympics Guam athletic director. "We’re looking forward to continuing our relationship for many years to come!"

Approximately 200 military service members volunteered to support the 40th Special Olympics Guam Track and Field Competition. Military volunteers have consistently been a factor throughout the years and played a large role in the success of the event by coaching athletes and tackling tasks from event set up to tear down.

"To still be coming out for 40 years is something that's worth celebrating,” said Master Sgt. Cona Billyzone, 554th Red Horse Squadron infrastructure section chief.  “We wanted to make sure we came out in full force in support of it because it's a special mark."

Special Olympics events foster friendship and motivation, Billyzone said, which encourages many volunteers and participants to return every year.

"Rain or shine they're ready to compete," Billyzone said. "(The athletes) are a big motivator. Many of them are intellectually or physically disabled, but there is still that eagerness and drive to compete and that's awesome. I feel like when I labor to do just normal tasks and to see them doing the same things I do, but with their limitations, it makes me want to help them and the program more."

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