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May 6, 2014

Special Olympics sees sunny day after 2 rain delays

TIFTON — After a couple of false starts due to rain, the Special Olympics finally got started under bright blue skies Tuesday morning. The event was held at Eighth Street Middle School.

After the athletes and volunteers took a turn around the track, Emeka Sears (student-athlete) and Debra Sellars (teacher), both from Tift County High School, sang the national anthem. The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Tifton police Chief Buddy Dowdy and Deremius Burgess, student-athlete from TCHS-Northeast Campus.

A couple of choral selections were performed by One Voice, under the direction of Pam McClellan, just before special recognition of this year’s event T-shirt designer, Lottyn Bates. Soon afterward, Akeemion Stoutamire and Deshawn Gordon, student athletes, were accompanied by Keisha Jackson and Keishona Brannon from Eighth Street Middle, as they made their way around the track, carrying the Olympic torch.

Jill Bergeron, who has coordinated the Special Olympics event for several years now, is stepping down from the position. She was brought to the stage, where she received a bouquet of flowers and loud applause and cheers. Bergeron accepted both, and a hug from the presenter, before returning to her duties, wiping away a few tears.

Events this year included 12 stations, which featured basketball, inflatables (located at two stations), target throw, face painting, long jump, lawn bowling, soccer, can stacking, snacks, bottle throw and dancing. There was also a 50-meter dash.

The day ended with the presentation of trophies and closing ceremonies.

Donors this year included Elks Lodge No. 1114, Kiwanis Club, Exchange Club, Harold Harper Sr., Harper CPA Group, Duncan McClusky, Joe and Martha Day, Curtis and Vivienne Couch, Kenneth and Margo Martin, Michael and Teresa Walker, Beth Lewis, J.L. Butler, Reinhardt/Whitley/Summerlin/ Pittman PC, Sid and Melanie Roberson, Rob and Lisa Wilmont and Wal-Mart.

Other volunteers included Target, First Community Bank, Eight Street Middle TALK, Tift County EMS and Tift County Recreation Department, as well as Mike Beeman and TCHS Marketing class, TCHS baseball team, TCHS Beta Club, NEC Beta Club, TCHS FCCLA, Blue Devil Vision and One Voice.

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