2011 Distinguished Service Award Winners
Outstanding Local Coordinator: Amie Talcott dedicates her time and effort into an area which had not previously been active. Her hard work has paid off and she now has a prospering agency to prove that. She is a delight to be around and we all are very glad she is apart of the Special Olympics Family.
Outstanding Adult Volunteer: Linda Fitzpatrick of Forsyth County is eager to volunteer at any event. As a volunteer she goes above and beyond what is expected and does it all for athletes! She dedicates her time promoting success and lasting memories each and every day. She has helped to grow Forsyth County Special Olympics program by leaps and bounds.
Outstanding Unified Partner: Art Elrod of Henry County is one of the first unified partners in Georgia history for softball. When he is not training for s.o.g.a. events you can find him donating his time to building the special olympics float in henry county every year. He is a pleasure to be around and is constantly expressing his joy and great attitude on and off the field.
Female Athlete of the Year: Megan McKinney of Jones County has come along way with the help of Special Olympics Georgia. She has been involved with Special Olympics Georgia for the past 3 years and has attended 6 state games. She has won numerous medals at these events but her greatest accomplishment to date is finding her own independence and becoming a well-rounded young adult. Along with the many awards she has received in the past few years, she was recently awarded 2010 Senior Miss Middle Georgia Special Needs Queen.
Outstanding Grassroots Support from a Business: Aggregates USA of Jones County has supported the Jones County local agency for a number of years. They volunteer, donate money, prepare meals and help fundraise.
Outstanding Family: The Way family of the Augusta Stars has been supportive of their daughter’s partipation with Special Olympics Georgia at an early age. They take a very active role and have all served as unified partners and coaches throughout the years. They understand the importance of letting all of the athletes perfrom to their potential and are willing to serve where ever needed. They are truly an inspirational family to everyone they come in contact with!
Outstanding Organization: Jones County Pilots Club supported the Jones County Special Olympics program since it began five years ago. Two of the club members became so involved in the program that they joined the local management team.
Outstanding Local Program: Henry County Parks and Recreation Department began around 24 years ago and has evolved into offering 16 different sports and has a growing unified sports program. Each year Henry County works with the school system to offer a Special Olympics Fair Day, with 600 students participating.
Male Athlete of the Year: Jones County Athlete Tony Fields has worked hard to overcome the communication barrier of hearing loss to make many friendships and compete in the county’s Unified Sports program. He most recently competed at National Games with his Unified Softball Team and won a silver medal. Through his competion in Unified Sports in the last three years, he’s also achieved success in soccer, and basketball.
Outstanding Youth Volunteer: Unified Partner Arjun Dhir is an exceptional volunteer with the Special Pops Tennis program. He has been a trainer, coach, and unified partner for the past 4 years and at the age of 15, already knows that helping others is a personally enriching and very rewarding experience.
Spirit of Special Olympics: Dekalb County Local Coordinator Boni Powell has served Special Olympics Georgia for 30 years. She has created training programs in six different sports, and is able to offer 18 different competitions throughout the school year for over 1300 athletes. She is certified in 16 different sports and has been a coach for seven World Games. Boni believes that our athletes deserve the best that life has to offer. She is dedicated to her job and most importantly to the athletes she serves.
LETR Hall of Fame Award: Dunwoody Police Chief Billy Grogan has devoted his personal time to help grow the torch run program. For the past 5 years, he has taken on the leadership role as the torch run’s state director. By creating new statewide partnerships and encouraging his officers and surrounding agencies to participate in fundraising, Chief Grogan has attributed to significant growth for the the Law Enforcement Torch Run program.