Jackson County’s commitment to the Special Olympics dates back decades. The county’s Parks + Rec Department hosts the annual Polar Plunge Special Olympics fundraiser at Longview Lake each winter, and its recreational therapists have coached hundreds, if not thousands of area Special Olympians over the years.
Special Olympics Missouri-KC Metro (SOMO) expressed its gratitude to Jackson County by recognizing Parks + Rec as its “2015 Outstanding Business of the Year” during Saturday’s opening ceremonies of the KC Metro Spring Games at Lee’s Summit North High School.
“We are so proud of our association with the Special Olympics and honored to be given this recognition,” Jackson County Parks + Rec Superintendent of Recreation Tina Spallo said after accepting the award. “We look forward to playing a role in the lives of our area’s Special Olympians for many more years to come.”
According to SOMO Development Manager Rachel Sbisa, Jackson County Parks + Rec certainly exceeded all the award’s criteria, which include demonstrating a “positive impact within the Special Olympics Missouri movement.”
Parks + Rec supports many of the largest Special Olympic teams in the KC Metro, Sbisa said. That support often comes in the form of providing coaches and use of Parks + Rec facilities. In the last few years, Parks + Rec coaches have trained athletes for the USA Games and World Games.
“I know our recreational therapists consider working with our Special Olympians to be one of the great joys of working for Parks + Rec,” said Jackson County Executive Frank White. “They get paid big bonuses in the form of all the smiles on these athletes’ faces.”
Sbisa called the county’s support of SOMO “a huge asset to the success of our KC Metro program.”
Coach of The Year
Following Saturday’s parade of athletes, SOMO also recognized a Jackson County Parks + Rec volunteer. Robin Roberts was honored as the Outstanding Coach of the Year.
County Superintendent of Recreation Tina Spallo joins with the athletes from the county’s Special Populations Services team in celebrating Jackson County Parks + Rec being named Special Olympics Missouri-KC Metro 2015 Outstanding Business of the Year.