This past Friday, November 16, Special Olympics New Jersey held our annual Awards Dinner at the Princeton Westin.
This special night celebrated a year of stories that represent 43 years of athletic achievement and all those who made it possible. We honored volunteers who have dedicated their lives to the Special Olympics movement, met sponsors who define commitment, paid tribute to athletes who have exceeded all expectations on the playing field, and recognized the Law Enforcement Torch Run for their fundraising and outreach efforts.
We also introduced Junichi Kusakawa, Maureen Larson and Becky Scheick – the three athletes representing New Jersey on Team USA at the 2013 World Winter Games in PyeongChan, Republic of Korea this coming January & February!
We were honored to have American soccer midfielder, Carli Lloyd, as our keynote speaker. As a member of the United States Women’s National Soccer Team, she scored the gold-medal-winning goal in the finals of both the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing and the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. During her speech, Carli talked about the importance of having a strong coach and of always being focused on training, even in the off-season.
HERE ARE THE 2012 HONOREES:
Family of the Year: The Ritzel Family
2012 Spirit Award: The Wadsworth “Chip” Cresse III Foundation
Outstanding Local Training Program: Woodbridge Developmental Center
Outstanding Media: James Cole, Bill Ford, Junious Jones & Frank Ortiz
Lifetime Achievement Award: Joyce Kirchin
Lifetime Achievement Award: Artie & Gail Mortensen
Hall of Fame Inductee: Dan Miller
Hall of Fame Inductee: Tracy Sanok
Outstanding Coach of the Year – Area: Jay Semenecz
Outstanding Coach of the Year – Chapter: Theresa Diaz
Individual Volunteer of the Year: Dave Gould
Individual Volunteer of the Year: Nancy Collis
Outstanding Volunteer Group: McGuire Air Force Base
Outstanding Athlete – Fall Sports: Andrea Yarnall
Outstanding Athlete – Winter Sports: Christopher Alvarado
Outstanding Athlete – Spring Sports: David Praiss
Outstanding Athlete – Summer Sports: Thomas Gutierrez
2012 Spirit Award: Dick Bartello
2012 Spirit Award: John Danka
2012 Spirit Award: Joseph Yehl
Law Enforcement Torch Run Wall of Recognition: Ret. Lt. Michael Podolak
Bessie Perlman Achievement Award: Kevin Daley
S. Michael Higgins Scholarship Award: Glenn Bunting
In lieu of a gift for attendees this year, a contribution was made by Special Olympics New Jersey to two charities in honor of Sargent Shriver: Potomac Community Resources in Potomac, MD, and SOAR! In Washington DC.
All of the honorees, and all of the guests who attended the Awards Dinner, played an important role over the past year in advancing the Special Olympics movement in New Jersey. To see photos of all the recipients, CLICK HERE.