On June 21st, 22 athletes, 15 unified partners, 5 coaches and 2 assistant coaches made the long journey across the country to New Jersey to compete in 5 different sports competitions for the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games. After a week of rigorous competition, we are happy to report that Team Arizona brought home 7 gold medals in addition to a multitude of accomplishments from all of our athletes and unified partners. Congratulations to all, for their hard work, and Bravery!
It is clear that we all enjoyed our time in New Jersey, meeting hundreds of other inspirational athletes from around the country and hearing all of their unique stories. In fact, these encounters inspired one of our own USA Games Athletes, Ronny Jones, to document his story. Here is Ronny’s Experience, as told by himself:
“I had a great time in New Jersey, attending my first ever USA Games, representing Special Olympics Arizona. The trip started off with a royal treat. We were enthusiastically greeted and escorted by Arizona Cardinal Cheerleaders to the Cardinals’ private plane. Then we boarded the Cessna where they said, “Make it your home.” I did a short interview about the events I was going to compete in and got a chance to thank the Cardinals’ reps for sharing their awesome ride!
Landing safely in New Jersey, the royal treatment continued. There was a lot of people greeting and meeting us. There was a reception line that we got a chance to walk or run through. All of us were in shock that a lot of fans were there for us! We felt like celebrities and were treated awesome! My mom, Granny, and Aunt were able to come and cheer on my team and me that made it extra special!
When we weren’t busy competing during the day, we had a chance to go to some night activities like the dinner cruise, baseball game, Olympic town, Olympic village, sport showcase and Healthy Athletes.
I left the 2014 USA Games with a Gold medal for the 50 Breaststroke and a Silver medal for (my favorite event) the 25 Butterfly. I also got a participation medal for the 25 Breaststroke.
When we got to the airport for departing, guess what? We saw a WWE Superstar: Mark Henry! He is really nice and friendly. EVERYONE made this trip a dream come true! I could get use to going to more Big Special Olympic Events!”
In addition to Ronny’s story, I also had the pleasure to learn about another great experience from a Mother of one of our athletes that attended the USA Games. Her encounter involves our recent “Everybody Wins” Partnership with Parker & Sons and the “Top it off Special” running through the next year to benefit Special Olympics Arizona. After noticing an A/C problem in her sons apartment on Friday, she decided to give Parker & Sons a call.
“Troy (Parker & Sons Service Tech) was polite, professional and courteous. He took his time to diagnose and correct the problem…The invoice total came to about $250 – but thanks to this special, they didn’t charge me a dime! Troy even took time at the end of the service call to listen to Braden’s stories about his recent experience at the National Games in New Jersey, even though he had been there for nearly three hours and likely had more calls to make that afternoon.”
“I was thrilled with the service provided by Parker and Sons, and I definitely plan to use them again – for Braden’s condo, my home, and my office building. This truly is an “Everybody Wins” campaign – Braden got his A/C fixed at no cost, Special Olympics received another donation, and Parker and Sons earned a loyal customer. I’ll definitely be spreading the word!”
We are excited to report that with the help of Parker & Sons, and the Arizona Diamondbacks “Everybody Wins” Campaign, over $70,000.00 has been raised for Special Olympics Arizona! If you would like to take advantage of the Parker & Sons “Top it Off Special” or learn more about the “Everybody Wins” partnership, take a look at our Website HERE.