Athletes and families celebrate the return of the Special Olympics to Ellisville
Ellisville, Miss. (WDAM) - Dozens of athletes and their families joined at Jones College for a Friday day of competition and camaraderie.
This year’s event is the first time Jones has hosted the Area 17 Special Olympics Spring Games since 2019.
“For three years without the Special Olympics, glad to have it again,” said Graham Davies, an athlete from Belt Mental Health RSI’s supervised living program. “I won two first-place ribbons. I won a blue ribbon in the 100-meter walk; I won another blue ribbon at the softball throw, and I made it to Kessler. It’s so good to be here again.”
Joining the competitors was Benito Jones, an NFL player originally from Waynesboro, who served as an honorary captain. He said he returned to his home state to give back and see the joy of each athlete.
“It’s a really good honor to just come back and just to show them that you ain’t never too good to just come back and be a part of it,” said Jones.
Sharon Murray, head coach of the Lady Mustangs basketball team at West Jones High School, also served as an honorary captain. She said she was thrilled to see the community come out to support the Special Olympics’ return.
“It’s so exciting to see all the participants, all the athletes for the day having a really good time, feeling really special,” said Murray. “So, like I said, it’s enjoyable to see the excitement on their face and joy on their face.”
One athlete, Adam Kelley, said he was excited to see his friends and family cheering him on.
“I got my grandmama here and my mama the other day, and I got all my friends here from State School,” said Kelley. “I got my friend Shaunta from the gym, and we’re gonna have a chance to go to Camp Shelby.”
The athletes and volunteers said they hoped to encompass the Special Olympics quote, “Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in my attempt.”
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