Medina County’s Special Olympics athletes received an early Christmas gift this week.
Thanks to funds raised by the Medina Breakfast Kiwanis Club and donations to the Medina County Board of Developmental Disabilities, the Special Olympics program now has its own 12-person passenger van to take athletes to tournaments around Ohio.
Kathy Miller, Special Olympics coordinator, accepted the keys to the van from Andy Schultz, president of the Medina Breakfast Kiwanis Club, on Thursday at the Medina County Achievement Center, 4691 Windfall Road, in Granger Township.
The Special Olympics program didn’t have its own van, so the board had to manage the needs of Special Olympics using its regular bus fleet.
“Because we did not have our own vehicle, it could be challenging to arrange transportation to and from local and state events,” Miller said.
“We had to be creative with our scheduling and find ways to stretch transportation options to cover everyone’s needs.”
Medina County’s program is the third largest Special Olympics program in Ohio. It provides more than 250 athletes the chance to participate in 17 sports ranging from track and field to basketball and volleyball. The new van, a 2013 Ford, features the logo for Special Olympics and comfortably seats 12 athletes and all their equipment.
The Kiwanis Club raised about $12,000 of the total $23,000 price of the van through its Sports Hall of Fame dinners, which also is sponsored by The Gazette. The remainder of the money was raised by the Aktion Club, the Kiwanis organization for people with disabilities.
Contact reporter Kiera Manion-Fischer at (330) 721-4049 or firstname.lastname@example.org.