Special Olympics Spring Games Held in Odessa

Special Olympics Spring Games Held in Odessa

By Kalene O'Brien
NewsWest 9 

ODESSA - The Special Olympics Spring Games are the biggest event of the year for the organization. Hundreds of athletes and volunteers from all around the Basin took part in the spring games on Saturday. Thanks to volunteers, the Special Olympics athletes had a day that was all about them.

"We have over 200 volunteers that come in and do a variety of different activities. Everything from setting up our meals to timing to working our shotput events and it takes each and every one of them to make this a success," said Suzanne Anderson, Vice President of Field Operations for the Special Olympics.

The athletes competed for a chance at gold with hundreds of supporters cheering them on. The volunteers make sure the athletes know it's not just about winning.

"The coaches watch you to see how you're doing and see how you're not fighting with others and getting along," said Misty Hendrih, who won women's athlete of the year.

"It felt good! I had some tears coming down. It made me happy," said Hendrih.

That's exactly why many volunteers have been lending a hand for decades.

"I just enjoy watching the kids. Their enthusiasm, their excitement, they're always laughing, they're happy and I appreciate that. It's a good feeling to have," said Sgt. David Lara of the Odessa Police Department.

Several law enforcement agencies, student organizations and those with a heart for the cause came together to support the Special Olympics athletes.

"All the volunteers; we enjoy them. We're here to be friendly, get out there and do the competition, have fun and get along with everybody," said Hendrih.

The volunteers say at the end of the day, they feel like they've won a gold medal as well.

"You look around and you think, I'm giving back to this wonderful group of people and what you realize is you're actually getting from them. They are the most amazing population to work with," said Anderson.