Saluda County Schools Holds Annual Special Olympics
By Mary Alice Quattlebaum
Saluda County School District held its third annual Special Olympics on Friday, April 20, 2018. We would like to say a special thank you to everyone who helped share this day this us, and all of the people who helped to make this day a success- sponsors, volunteers, EMS workers, Law Enforcement, committee members, faculty, staff, students, parents, and community members. A special thank you goes to Candace Herron and Courtney Long, teachers at Saluda Primary School for coordinating this event.
Because of the generosity of the our community, the event raised over $5000.00 as well as many other donations such as food, drinks, water, hats, art supplies, balloons and other necessary supplies.
The day began with the passing of the torch. Saluda County Law Enforcement led the event running from the district office out to the Educational Complex handing off the torch. A special memorial walk around the track and lighting of a candle was led by Sheriff John Perry and Chief Kes Holmes, in tribute to Officer Dale Hallman who recently was killed in the line of duty. Corporal Hallman’s family and K9 Copper joined in the memory lap.
Dr. Harvey Livingston, Superintendent opened the ceremony by welcoming and thanking everyone who came together through community and school to support and encourage our athletes. Rev. Trey Shealy served as the emcee for the event.
The Saluda High School NNDCC presented the colors. Merissa Robon, Emilliano Perez, and Ashari Wallace led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance. Crystal Gulledge sang a beautiful acapella rendition of the Star Spangled Banner accompanied by Mrs. Boozer’s class. Krystal Gross recited the Special Olympic Oath- “Let me win: But if I cannot win; Let me be brave in the attempt.”
Our special guest of honor, Sergeant First Class (retired) Todd Reed, from the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball team was introduced. While Sergeant Reed was in the U.S. Army on a combat tour in Desert Storm, he stepped on a landmine, causing him to lose his right foot and is now an amputee. He has earned many awards and decorations and addressed the students and audience that no matter what happens in life, never give up, and let a disability hold you back from doing what you want to do. His goal was to work with law enforcement and found his dream by working with the Mesa Arizona Police department where he has now retired.
The torch run around the track was led by local law enforcement, Warrior Todd Reed, and chosen athletes: Esther Ramirez-Rodriguez, Bryston Williams, Honesty Coates, James Moore, Kristan Castro, and Quentin Curry. Sheriff John Perry officially announced the opening of the games. Athletes paired up with a “Buddy” from Saluda High School who spent the day with them. Games, arts and crafts, and final competitions were held.
This fun filled day ended with the announcement of awards by Superintendent, Dr. Harvey Livingston, as Sheriff John Perry and EMS Director Jacob Starnes handed out medals and ribbons to all the participants. Everyone involved had a great time!