Walkers take steps for Special Olympics

May 07, 2006|By TARA REILLY

As mothers of children with intellectual disabilities, Vicki Follett and Toni Nelson understand the importance of the Special Olympics.

Follett, assistant director of Special Olympics Maryland Washington County, said the year-round games build self-esteem and provide a fun opportunity for the athletes.

The chapter's sporting events include aquatics, basketball, duckpin and tenpin bowling, volleyball, floor hockey and equestrian.

On Saturday, the Washington County chapter held its annual Inspiration Walk at Fairgrounds Park in Hagerstown to raise money for its sporting programs.

Follett said the chapter hoped to raise $6,000, which is what it costs to run the year-round games.

"I think it's a great opportunity for a fundraiser and, hopefully, to become aware of people with special needs," said Charlotte Loveless of Hagerstown, who walked in the event.


Mike Diseati, Jeff Garvin, Wil Palmer and Ron Moyer, correctional officers who are members of the Hagerstown chapter of the Pride Motorcycle Club, presented the Washington County Special Olympics chapter with a $500 donation.

Garvin, vice president of the club, said they showed to lend moral support and help support the games. He said it was the first time the club supported the local Special Olympics chapter.

"We'll definitely do it in the future, too, because they're wonderful people to work with," Garvin said.

Follett and Nelson, family coordinator, said helping Special Olympics athletes is rewarding work.

"There's nothing more satisfying," Nelson said.

"We really need community support ... our group is growing in leaps and bounds," Nelson said.

For more information about volunteering, call Nelson at 301-766-8221.

For more information about Special Olympics Maryland, go to

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