Special Olympics award winners announced

For The Madison Press

February 12, 2014

These Tigers were certainly on the prowl for Special Olympics excellence.

Recently, the Madison County Special Olympics Program — affiliated with the Madison County Board of Developmental Disabilities — 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.

When it comes to ‘team players,’ John Zeeck is at the top of the list. It’s that unselfish attitude that led to Zeeck earning Athlete of the Year honors.

Whether it was on the basketball court, softball diamond, ski slopes or at the volleyball net, Zeeck made great strides this year.

Zeeck earned a gold medal for the Tigers’ ski team, as well as excelling on the Unified volleyball team and as a member of the softball squad. As a member of the Tigers’ Division III basketball team he averaged eight rebounds, three assists, and six points a game.

“John has had an outstanding year as an athlete for the Madison County Tigers,” said Lincoln Comer, Recreation Coordinator for the Madison County Board of Developmental Disabilities, of Zeeck. “John’s positive attitude and contagious smile were exactly what Team Ohio was looking for when they selected him to represent them at the 2014 National Games in Princeton, New Jersey.”

Caternia Pierce has done a lot to keep the Tigers athletes on ‘track,’ both literally and figuratively. Pierce prepared the Special Olympics track athletes to gain several medals at Summer Games, earning Coach of the Year honors.

“One can rest assured that their athletes will be safe and sound under Mrs. Pierce’s watchful eye,” Comer said. “Her non-stop energy and glass half-full attitude allows her to remain positive while trying to be in three places at once.”

Brooke Parsley has a skill with helping others. Assisting many Special Olympics athletes led Parsley to be selected as the Volunteer of the Year.

Among her contributions were coaching both the Basic Individual Skills basketball and softball teams, chaperoning track meets, and competed as a Unified partner on the 2013 Tigers softball team.

“Volunteers really make the difference when it comes to successfully running a Special Olympics Program,” Comer said. “With quality volunteers like Brooke our Special Olympics program ranks among the state’s finest.”

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 Project SEARCH Promotions II.

For several decades, Peggy Van Hoose worked a variety of jobs for the Madison County Board of Developmental Disabilities — each enhancing the lives of the people we serve. Two years ago she retired, but she continues to contribute to the Special Olympics program through her business. She created a number of shirts and jackets for athletes, fans and family members to wear.

“Through her hard work and generosity our individuals have been given the opportunity to look their finest while showing off their Tiger Pride,” Comer said. “It is business owners like Peggy who really make our community a special place to live and one we can be proud of.”

For more information about Special Olympics in Madison County, please contact Comer at (740) 852-7052.