More than 250 athletes participated in the Special Oympics Track meet and Volleyball tournament Saturday held at Amador Valley High School.
Ken Mano, Special Olympics coordinator and a member of the Amador Valley Athletic Boosters club, said his group supplied 260 volunteers to help in the event. They served as team escorts to assist coaches and teams during the day, assisted athletes and helped set up the events and served as track timers.
They also helped with field events during the awards programs at lunch and the evening programs, serving starting as gate monitors.
"This is a great opportunity to experience competitive athletics at their purist and most inspiring level," Mano told the volunteers before the event. "You will find that this is a volunteer activity that will change your life and attitude. This is a great opportunity for our athletes to 'give back.'"
This was the seventh consecutive year that the Amador Valley High Athletic Boosters is hosted the event.
"Thanks to all of you wonderful volunteers," Mano said. "Of course you were the key to a successful tournament. We saw many kindnesses and encouragements to the athletes; we thank you for your service."
The day started with opening ceremonies led by with Juliette Goodrich of Channel 5 television. She was followed by Gabrielle Danis of AVHS who sang the National Anthem. Next, Lori Rice, president of the Boosters club welcomed the athletes and spectators, closing her remarks with "Let the Games Begin."
Torch Runner escorts included Mark Mullaney of the Boosters, Simrin Jhangiani of AV Leadership and Trace Levinson of Foothill High School.
Grego & Jody Kosinski, volleyball venue manager, and Geert and Patty VanLooy, lunch supervisors, received five-year awards for their participation in leading Special Olympics events with the Boosters.
Special thanks also went to long-time Boosters who have been helping for a number of years: Janet Mullaney, Dawn Marie Barraza, Brian MacDonald, Kelly MacDonald , Mark Mullaney, Nadine Bent, Carolyn Mano and Sydney Metz. Retired teacher, Bud Engle served as the track announcer for his second year.
Mano said others who deserve thanks for their contributions to the Special, Olympics are Steve McKinley, who designed the event's 2010 tee shirts, and Lou Cesario for his support in arranging use of the high school fields and facilities.
"We also donate the proceeds of the snack bar to Special Olympics," Mano said. "This year the donation was $1,285."