Posted by: sonewjersey | November 22, 2011

Celebrating a Year of Achievement

Athlete Joseph Barry gives the thumbs up as he's inducted into the Hall of Fame.

This past Friday, November 18, Special Olympics New Jersey held its annual Awards Dinner at the Princeton Westin.

This special night highlighted a year of athletic achievement, honored volunteers for their unyielding dedication to the Special Olympics movement, recognized a training program for its growing impact on its community through both traditional and unified play, paid tribute to the Law Enforcement Torch Run community, and celebrated the achievements of the Team USA athletes who made New Jersey proud in Athens, Greece at the World Games.

Eric LeGrand spreads his BELIEVE message to a standing-room-only crowd.

Special guest Eric LeGrand gave a heartwarming keynote address focused on believing in yourself. Eric is a Rutgers University student who suffered a devastating injury in 2010 during a football game, which left him paralyzed from the shoulders down. Throughout his rehabilitation, Eric has shown the entire nation a tremendous amount of courage and strength. His mantra, and the mantra of those who support him, is BELIEVE. Eric has been a supporter of SONJ, leading the athlete parade at the 2011 Summer Games, where he addressed the crowd of thousands.

HERE ARE THE 2011 HONOREES:

Family of the Year: The Hutchison Family

Outstanding Local Training Program: Montgomery Special Olympics

Lifetime Achievement Award: Deborah Snyder

Hall of Fame Inductee: Nancy & Rick Newman

Hall of Fame Inductee: Joseph Barry

Outstanding Coach of the Year – Area: Denise Bawiec

Outstanding Coach of the Year – Chapter: Vic Bove

Individual Volunteer of the Year – Area: Lois Arace

Individual Volunteer of the Year – Chapter: Lenny Yanchar

Outstanding Volunteer Group: Grainger

Outstanding Athlete – Fall Sports: Alex Buzgo

Outstanding Athlete – Winter Sports: Dane Klewsaat

Outstanding Athlete – Spring Sports: Cindy Saunders

Outstanding Athlete – Summer Sports: Margo Lee

2011 Spirit Award Winner: Riverwinds

2011 Spirit Award Winner: Mike Laverty

2011 Spirit Award Winner: Jennifer Appaluccio

Law Enforcement Torch Run Wall of Recognition: Lou Hannon

Bessie Perlman Achievement Award: Nicole Schroeder

S. Michael Higgins Scholarship Award: Kevin McCormac

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.

COMING SOON: Kevin McCormac, the S. Michael Higgins Scholarship recipient, will share his thoughts on this honor.

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