It was a wonderful evening filled with support and celebration, as Special Olympics Saskatchewan hosted their fifth annual Celebration of Champions on April 20th. It was a night aimed to honour sponsors and supporters of Special Olympics who have helped in events, and programs throughout the past year in Saskatchewan.
The two emcees for the evening, Carl Paulhus and Mike McGuire, did an outstanding job leading the event with an energetic, interactive and heart-warming attitude. Carl Paulhus is an incredible Moose Jaw athlete involved in floor hockey, soccer, curling, bocce ball, bowling, and swimming. He recently completed his Athlete Leadership Training and was very excited to be given the opportunity to co-emcee for the evening. Mike McGuire has been a part of the Special Olympics Saskatchewan family for most of his time in Regina whilst working for the Saskatchewan Rush as a personality and in-game announcer. We heard a moving speech from Rhonda Penno as she told her story of being involved with Special Olympics on several levels, and how this has changed her life. In addition, Faye Matt, Chief Executive Officer of Special Olympics Saskatchewan, spoke about the value of sponsors to Special Olympics as they help us reach goals in creating an impact on athletes’ lives and in our communities.
‘Brave in the Attempt’ was the evening’s theme as it shines a light on the magic that happens here, in Saskatchewan, in our communities, every day as Special Olympics is so much more than just sport. The theme, Brave in the Attempt is taken from the athlete’s oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt”. The athlete’s oath has inspired millions of athletes to participate and succeed. The night honoured some of the Team Sask athletes as they are going to the National Summer Games this year in Nova Scotia and PEI. We were joined by several Team Sask athletes as they showed off their medals and created partnerships with sponsors. Russell Hippert who is a Bocce athlete on Team Sask gave a speech about his involvement in Special Olympics, as well as led grace before supper. The evening’s entertainment featured Tomcat Howl which is comprised of Tom Wright and Jim Wright. Tom Wright is a Special Olympics powerlifter who shared his musical talents with us as he sang alongside his dad, Jim Wright, whom also played the guitar.
The champions of the evening were, of course, our sponsors. Special Olympics Saskatchewan cannot put into words the gratitude and appreciation we have toward those who continue to support Special Olympics. If it weren't for the sponsors who filled the chairs, and those who couldn't make it, we wouldn't be where we are today. Your support helps us grow, and provide more opportunities for our athletes as we strive toward an inclusive society.
Overall, it was a remarkable evening and Special Olympics Saskatchewan would like to thank everyone who joined us. We look forward to seeing everyone next year.