Volunteer Spotlight – Kyle Martz
by Mark Hanken
When Special Olympics Oregon made the transition to virtual programming last winter, we knew we needed a top-notch way to keep our athletes connected across the state. Willamette University alumni and Chief Operating Officer Mark Hanken was fortunate to connect with Kyle Martz, a former football player and recent Willamette University graduate. Kyle got started right away creating the video programs for our first-ever Fall Virtual Games in 2020. His collaboration and willingness to create such quality programs for our athletes led to a fantastic partnership! “When COVID-19 shut down nearly all of SOOR’s in-person competition opportunities last year, Mark reached out to me to help create a series of videos for their 2020 Fall Virtual Games. As a senior, this was a great opportunity to develop my videography skills, portfolio and resume. That fall, I shot and edited multiple demonstration videos for various athletic competition events.” To date, Kyle has created videos for the 2021 Winter Virtual Games, clips for the 2021 Virtual Youth Games presented by Nike and most recently, our 2021 Summer Virtual Games.
“By far the most enjoyment comes from seeing SOOR athletes of all ages use my videos to train, compete, and stay connected,” Martz said. “I have the pleasure of piecing together athlete highlight videos after each season. I try my best to make these segments feel as much like the ‘ESPN Top 10′ highlights as I possibly can. These highlights are then viewed by SOOR athletes around the state. I enjoy watching my work bring smiles to SOOR athletes’ faces. It’s an honor to create content that keeps Special Olympics athletes excited about sport, competition, and leading healthy lifestyles.”
Without Kyle and his skills, we would not have been able to make this virtual programming possible. SOOR COO, Mark Hanken, said “Kyle has been such a game-changer for SOOR. When our world turned to virtual, we were continually striving to find the best ways to connect through video and storytelling. Luckily for us (and for our athletes), we had talented people come forward who helped our staff create and produce incredible content and Kyle is at the top of that list. He has been a joy to work with and we’re so grateful for the time he has devoted to our athletes to ensure they are able to stay active and engaged over the last year.” Thank you to Kyle and the entire Willamette University student-athlete community for their support and partnership!