Special Olympics Alberta prides itself on five key values: inclusion, diversity, empowerment, respect, and excellence. These values defined what Charlie Cramer represented in his work with Special Olympics. Charlie Cramer was an active member of Special Olympics Alberta and the Grande Prairie affiliate for over 20 years working as a volunteer, coach, and serving as the Affiliate Chair for past three years until his unfortunate passing last December.
Cramer was a role model and prided himself on making the Special Olympics program in Grande Prairie an incredible one. “Special Olympics programs are doing well in Grande Prairie and a large part of this can be attributed to Charlie’s hard work,” says George Malcolm, the current Affiliate Chair for Grande Prairie’s Special Olympics program, adding that “Charlie effectively raised the profile of SOAGP – making sure that the community was involved and knew about the efforts of Special Olympics.”
“He was an influence on Special Olympics programs all over the province; offering help to budding affiliates and earning the respect of everyone through his work ethic and dedication to making Special Olympics better.” - George Malcolm
Malcolm and the board felt that the best way to honour Charlie’s memory was to create a Memorial Award that would be presented annually at the their Special Olympics year-end awards ceremony and banquet.
A brief description of the award states: “This award is to be given in memorial of Charlie Cramer who was a long time active volunteer and coach for Special Olympics movement in Grande Prairie, to a coach, volunteer or supporter of SOAGP who exemplifies what Special Olympics is about and shows the enthusiasm and dedication such as Charlie Cramer did.”
As a reflection of Charlie Cramer and his work nominees for the award should:
- Be involved in Special Olympics Alberta-Grande Prairie as a coach or volunteer or supporter or a combination.
- Be enthusiastic in their involvement with SOAGP and beyond.
- Show leadership and made a contribution to the life of SOAGP
- Be dedicated to the Special Olympics movement and display characteristics of integrity and exemplary personal conduct.
- Have contributed to the organization, promotion, development and overall life of Special Olympics in Grande Prairie and surrounding area.
- Be willing to go beyond the expectations of their position
- Be a positive role model for athletes, coaches, volunteers, and supporters of SOAGP
The first Charlie Cramer Memorial Award was presented on May 26, 2017 by Charlie’s wife, Marilyn and his two daughters Tricia and Kaylee, who are both Special Olympics athletes. Kelly Hollahan and Jennifer Melom were honoured with the award for their outstanding volunteer work for Special Olympics.
“He left a lasting effect on everyone he came in contact with and the award is just a small way we can keep his spirit alive in SOAGP. He knew every athlete, coach, and volunteer, and they all knew him,” says Malcolm. The award will memorialize Charlie’s dedication to SOAGP and maintain the legacy of a man whose hard-working attitude will be missed at Special Olympics.