Special Olympics Canada Announces 2015 National Awards Winners
September 9, 2015 – Special Olympics Canada is delighted to announce its National Awards winners for 2015. The Special Olympics Canada National Awards recognize the athletes, coaches and volunteers who have exemplified the spirit and essence of the Special Olympics Movement throughout the year. Award winners will be honoured during the 2015 National Awards evening on Thursday, November 19 at Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto. Special Olympics Canada’s 2015 Award Winners are:
Female Athlete of the Year – Sarah Brown, Gander, NL
Sarah has been involved with the Gander Wings Club for over 11 years. She began her Special Olympics career in 2001 and competed at her first Provincial Winter Games in 2002 in snowshoeing, qualifying to compete at the 2003 Special Olympics Canada Winter Games in PEI, and then on to the 2005 Special Olympics World Games in Nagano, Japan. 2014-15 has been a remarkable year for Sarah, bringing home a total of 14 medals in Bocce, Cross Country Skiing, Swimming, 5-Pin Bowling and Athletics.
Male Athlete of the Year and Dr. Frank Hayden Award – Jackie Barrett, Corner Brook, NL
Jackie has been involved in Special Olympics since 1987. During that time, he has cemented his legacy as one of the most prolific powerlifting athletes Special Olympics has ever seen, not just in Canada, but worldwide. At the Special Olympics Canada 2014 National Summer Games, Jackie completed a clean sweep, taking home gold medals in every event in which he competed.
Frank Selke Fundraising Volunteer of the Year – Mike Van Hees, Oakville, ON
Mike is the founder of The Beaver Valley Bike Ride, an event he established 8 years ago to support Special Olympics Ontario. His passion for cycling, coupled with his desire to support Special Olympics athletes has been the driving force and the reason why this event has been enormously successful over the past 8 years. His strong leadership and contribution to the Special Olympics Movement is a testament to his integrity and tenacity.
Male Coach of the Year – Tom Norton, Abbotsford, BC
Tom has been involved with Special Olympics for over 25 years, first with the Law Enforcement Torch Run and, more recently, as a coach. He coaches athletes in athletics and speed skating and also volunteers with SOBC’s Club Fit program. At the Special Olympics Canada 2014 National Summer Games, Tom coached his athletes to 6 medals (1 gold, 4 silver and 1 bronze).
Female Coach of the Year – Barb Fredrickson, Saskatoon, SK
Barb has been a Special Olympics coach for 6 years, primarily coaching the Saskatoon Adult Soccer Program. She has led her team into multiple National Games, most recently the Special Olympics Canada 2014 National Summer Games where her team placed fourth. She also sits on the board of the Saskatoon Special Olympics chapter as its Chair.
Team of the Year – SONL Soccer Team, Mount Pearl, NL
Led by head coach, Travis Maher, the majority of the SONL Soccer Team has been together since 2009. The team exemplifies the true spirit of Special Olympics every time they step on the field. They play hard during games, but once the whistle blows, their sportsmanship comes to the forefront as they can be seen congratulating opposing teams after goals, or helping fallen opponents to get up and return to play.
Jim Thompson Award – Bill Mills, London, ON
Bill Mills has been involved as a Special Olympics volunteer for the past 40 years as a coach, referee, tournament organizer and course conductor. He has attended many Provincial, National and World Games as a referee and referee-in-chief. In October 2013, he conducted a floor hockey coaching and referee clinic in Hong Kong and has also conducted a number of other clinics abroad, in Trinidad, Austria, Bermuda and Singapore.
Harry “Red” Foster Award – Al Dyer, Prince Albert, SK
Al is an incredible advocate for Special Olympics Saskatchewan, with an amazing spirit and drive to support and encourage the athletes in his community and across the province. Over the past 15 years, he has continuously committed to provide quality programming, allowing athletes to succeed in all aspects of life. Al is highly regarded in his home community in Prince Albert, but is also recognized at the provincial and national levels. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to all things Special Olympics.