Dozens of student, staff and community volunteers supported the Red River Special Olympics at Northwestern State University April 16, including NSU First Year Experience, NSU Police, Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Department, CLECO Power, Natchitoches Lions Club, NSU Alumni Association, Alpha Lambda Delta, St. Mary’s Catholic School, and Natchitoches Jaycees. About 80 competitors from Natchitoches, Red River, Sabine and Winn parishes participated in track and field events.
Local law enforcement personnel accompanied athletes in carrying the Flame of Hope to open ceremonies. The flame symbolizes courage and celebration of diversity uniting communities around the globe. An international movement, the Law Enforcement Torch Run is the largest public awareness and fund raising group for Special Oympics and those who participate are known as Guardians of the Flame.
Track and field athlete Tyrone Domino, with Northwestern State University student leader Mallory McConathy, led competitors in reciting the Special Olympics Athletes’ Oath prior to the start of the Red River games Tuesday: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.” The event was hosted by NSU’s Presidential Leadership Program, the group that adopted Special Olympics as a student-led community impact project four years ago. Special Olympics supports health, education, leadership, family, training and sports programs for people beginning at age 2 with no upper age limit and at no cost.
Those who won gold medals advanced to state competition in Hammond May 24-26. For more information about Special Olympics Louisiana, registering an athlete, coaching or volunteering, visit www.laso.org.