Special Olympics South Dakota has announced that Black Hills State University has been awarded the 2013 Champion Award, which is presented to any business, organization, or media outlet which has made a major contribution to SOSD.
BHSU hosted the 2013 SOSD State Summer games back on May 16-18, 2013, which turned out to be an overwhelming success, according to SOSD CEO, Darryl Nordquist.
“What stuck out most for me was the opening ceremony, when our athletes got high-fived by the college athletes in their football uniforms, volleyball uniforms and track and all the others in the human tunnel – that’s what I loved the most,” Nordquist said.
The 2013 Champion Award is the second time BHSU has won the award, their first came back in 2002. In total, the Yellow Jackets and Spearfish community has hosted the games a total of nine times since 1987.
“Out of all the places we visit for tournaments, BHSU goes above and beyond and treats our delegations like champions! From the minute we walk on campus to the day we depart, everyone involved goes above and beyond to make our events run smoothly,” Special Olympics Brookings coach, Suzy Gehring said.
Special Olympics Brookings initially nominated BHSU for the award and Coach Gehring reiterated the fact that the university’s student-athletes provided encouragement and support for the Brookings team and all the other delegations that competed throughout the weekend.
“The student athletes and mascots make a tremendous impact as they welcome our athletes into opening ceremonies. The high fives and smiles are contagious, setting the tone for a positive event,” Gehring said.
Yellow Jacket Director of Athletics, Jhett Albers, commended the efforts of everyone involved and was thrilled to hear the news of winning the award for a second time.
“I just want to thank all who were involved in hosting the Special Olympics South Dakota state games this year and we couldn’t be more grateful for this award. I hope that every volunteer found it to be as enjoyable, heart-warming, and rewarding experience as I did after watching these athletes perform. Our Student-Athlete Advisory Committee representatives and the other student-athletes that gave of their time and efforts to this event were amazing,” Albers said.
BHSU is all-set to host the games in 2014 in hopes of duplicating, if not surpassing the success of this year’s summer games.
“BHSU has made a major contribution to Special Olympics South Dakota and we trust they will continue to make major contributions in the future,” Gehring said.
Long-time local volunteer and SOSD board member, Myles Kennedy, also made a nomination and commended the leadership at BHSU for their efforts in support of SOSD.
“The athletic department at BHSU deserves the Champion Award. Under the leadership of Jhett Albers, the staff, coaches, and athletes all helped in many ways at the 2013 Summer Games in Spearfish,” Kennedy said. “Their help was priceless. This made it much easier on other volunteers and Special Olympic staff.”
To visit the homepage of SOSD and find more information on becoming a volunteer, click here.