Winter Snow Sports Les Schwab Pride in Performance Volunteer Award Recipient: Sue Wallace, Local Program Coordinator for Multnomah County
Sue has many friends and supporters, one of the biggest being her daughter, Emily, who is also a Special Olympics Oregon volunteer.
Sue's first exposure to Special Olympics Oregon was as a spectator watching her son, Matt, compete as a Special Olympics Oregon athlete. When Matt started skiing, the whole family became more involved and Sue was right there not only cheering for him but for everyone! You could tell she believed in each and every athlete. Emily said, "You could see her big heart and compassion shining through."
She was hooked on Special Olympics and just four years later she became the Local Program Coordinator for Multnomah County- almost 14 years ago!
She puts in endless hours of her time; coordinating practice facilities, making travel arrangements, securing coaches, managing athletes, organizing fundraisers, managing finances, ordering equipment and uniforms, and so much more.
Her dedication is undeniable. Sue had surgery four days before Summer State Games one year, but instead of staying home to recuperate she was in Newberg checking on athletes and coaches, as well as cheering in the stands. There’s just no stopping her!
When you talk about someone who puts their heart and soul into their work, Sue is the perfect example. She truly inspires the people around her to do their best and be their best.
Winter Snow Sports Les Schwab Pride in Performance Athlete Award Recipient: Danny Wells of Eugene/Springfield
Danny has been participating with Special Olympics Oregon for more than 10 years, competing in downhill skiing, golf and basketball.
His coach, Michael, said with great pride, “Besides Dan's skills improving over time in both golf and skiing, what I think is more important is his improvement in his ability to handle the aspects of competition, to win with humility and graciousness, to support his fellow athletes in their endeavors, whether it be congratulating them on their victories or consoling them in their time of need.”
“He accepts with dignity that although he gave his best, sometimes it falls short. He is always ready to get out there and try again.”
Not only does Danny shine in sports competitions, but he has also been involved in many fundraisers for the local program, including the Polar Plunge and Tip-a-Cop events. He is a great member in the community and has worked at Columbia Distributors for the past 10 years.
He is a great friend to all his fellow athletes and a positive influence on teams in which he is a part of.
Winter Indoor Sports Les Schwab Pride In Performance Athlete Award Recipient: Juan Palacios, McMinnville High School
Juan has been participating with Special Olympics Oregon for five years in basketball, soccer and golf.
His coach has watched his skills develop in soccer and basketball and says he works hard and plays hard. In 2013, he received an athletic award for unified soccer. Juan is also a great cheerleader for his teammates and is always sharing words of encouragement from the sidelines. He is always happy, has a great attitude and takes a lot of pride in whatever he is doing.
Outside of Special Olympics, Juan volunteers his time at a local youth group and supports many Veteran’s Day events in the community. He was also voted prince for the Sophomore homecoming court at his high school!
Juan is a caring young man to anyone he knows and to those he may not know, and is always willing to lend a helping hand.
Winter Indoor Sports Les Schwab Pride In Performance Volunteer Award Recipient: Brigette Brown, Hillsboro School District
Brigette has been involved with Special Olympics Oregon for over 7 years. She is an adaptive PE Teacher for Hillsboro School District and has spearheaded many of the Unified programs throughout the district, including basketball and softball teams at elementary, middle and high schools.
Brigette has devoted many hours to recruiting athletes and partners, training coaches, arranging practices, coordinating facilities, tracking paperwork and managing multiple teams throughout the school year.
To add to her list of roles, she has also coached many of these teams herself! She is a great advocate and resource for her students and athletes. Many of the assistant coaches that she has recruited for elementary and middle school teams are high school students, which has provided them with a meaningful opportunity to work with and learn about individuals with intellectual disabilities.
She has devoted so much of her time to ensure that young people with and without intellectual disabilities are provided with meaningful and inclusive sports opportunities so they can build friendships, develop physical fitness and feel included and accepted. Her hard work and strenuous efforts have greatly attributed to the success of many of Hillsboro School District’s Unified programs.
Special Olympics Oregon is extremely privileged to have Brigette as a volunteer, coach and an advocate for the Unified movement in schools throughout Oregon.