Kadena Special Olympics needs volunteers for game day

Kadena Special Olympics needs volunteers for game day

by Airman 1st Class Corey M. Pettis, 18th Wing Public Affairs
Kadena Air Base

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan  -- The 2015 Kadena Special Olympics is looking for at least 1700 volunteers to participate in this year's games at the Risner Fitness Center on Kadena Air Base, Japan, Nov. 7.

Most of the volunteer positions will be athlete buddies. An athlete buddy is an escort for the athlete and their family and will service as an ambassador for the U.S. military. They will be responsible for making sure the athletes get to and from events as well as ensuring the athletes receive lunch.

Athlete buddies will be assigned to a particular athlete for the entire activity day and will not be permitted to leave them alone under any circumstances.

The athlete buddies are to be the athletes' main cheerleader, cheering them on and congratulating them after each event.

"I have not heard of one individual walk away from Kadena Special Olympics without feeling a sense of pride in what they just witnessed, not just for themselves, but pride in what the athletes were able to accomplish," said Master Sgt. Paul Baisden, 18th Component Maintenance Squadron F-100 section chief.  "The look on the athlete's face when they compete, the motivation to do their best and mostly the reaction when they receive their medal has touched my heart forever."

As the largest annual Special Olympics outside the United States, KSO provides Kadena Airmen an opportunity to put on sporting competitions for people with disabilities and give back to the local community. Not only is it a great opportunity to give back, but also to create lasting memories for the athletes.

"Our goal is to make it the best day ever for the athletes," said Capt. Stan Hashimoto, KSO director of operations. "We have many different events for the athletes to compete in and I think that everyone involved will have a great time."

Game day starts with an opening ceremony where the athletes walk down center field. There are a total of 18 different events for athletes to participate in, including wheelchair 50 meter race, tennis skills, softball throw, and badminton.

Check-in for volunteers on game day is at 6:30 a.m. at the Risner Fitness Center volunteers should plan on staying until the closing ceremony at 3 p.m.

Athlete buddies should wear comfortable, conservative clothes.

Volunteers can contact their respective group representatives:

OG - Master Sgt. Timothy Middleton
MXG - Senior Master Sgt. Keric Craig
MDG - Capt. Patrick Meade
MSG - Senior Master Sgt. Brian Pederson
SOG - Master Sgt. Jeremy Vanleeuwe
CEG - Senior Master Sgt. Ross Erlenbach
Group 7 - Master Sgt. Derek Druschel
WSA - 1st Lt. Erik Anthony
Army - 2d Lt. Theodore Fong
Marine Corps - Cpl. Wesley Lucko or Cassandra Ladd (MCCS)

Volunteers can also sign-up online at http://specialolympicskadena.com/wordpress/events/game-day/.

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