Madison County Special Olympics announces annual award winners
For the Madison Press
Applauding service well done.
Recently, the Madison County Special Olympics Program announced the winners of its annual recognition awards. The awards are voted on by the Special Olympics athletes themselves, as well as staff and community people who are involved with the program.
Mike Ellis truly is a gold medal performer. Whether it is diving on the basketball court, picking up a split on the bowling lanes or sinking a long putt on the golf course, Ellis plays sports at the highest level. Therefore, an outstanding 2012 earned Ellis Athlete of the Year honors.
Ellis earned multiple first place medals for the Tigers’ track/field team, as well as in bowling and on the State stage for golf. As a member of the Tigers’ Division IV basketball team he averaged four rebounds, four steals, and nine points a game.
“He has shown great range as an athlete and has excelled in many sports,” said Lincoln Comer, Recreation Coordinator for the Madison County Board of Developmental Disabilities, of Ellis. “Mike has also taken tremendous steps as a team leader, and is extremely dedicated in his endeavors.”
From the slopes to the volleyball court, Lexi Comer was a leader for all seasons. This diversity of skills helped Comer earn Coach of the Year honors.
Combining an ultra-positive attitude with a tenacious work ethic, Comer juggled giving birth to a child with giving ‘re-birth’ to Madison County’s ‘traditional’ volleyball team — the first of its kind in more than a decade. The Tigers’ hard work paid off with a silver medal at the 2012 State Games.
Jorge Gonzalez goes wherever he is needed — both on and off the playing field. It’s that team-first attitude that led to Gonzalez being selected as the Volunteer of the Year.
Among his contributions were officiating home basketball games, assisting with basic skills tournaments, chaperoning track meets, and competed as a Unified partner on the 2012 Tigers softball team.
“Volunteers are essential to run a Special Olympics Program,” Lincoln Comer said. “Quality volunteers like Jorge are a necessity to run an elite program.”
Again this year, Madison County Special Olympics honored an organization which has offered support to enhance some aspect of the program. This year’s recipient of the Organization of the Year award is Madison Lanes.
For several years, Tuesday afternoon bowling has been arguably the most popular program among adults affiliated with the Madison County Board of DD. Originally begun by Phyllis and Stanley Thirtyacre close to 20 years ago, Linda Gildow and Janet Norris now completely organize the weekly event at the London bowling alley that runs from September to April.
“They have always been most cooperative with us, and are on a first name basis with almost all of the bowlers,” Gildow said of the Madison Lanes staff, particularly Brian Shepler. “Brian even knows the bowlers well enough that he doesn’t have to ask most of them their shoe sizes.”