News: Soldiers in Japan Improve the Lives of Special Needs Athletes
Story by Sgt. 1st Class Howard Reed
KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa, Japan- More than 100 Soldiers from the 10th Regional Support Group and the 1st Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery volunteered for the annual Kadena Special Olympics 24 Hour Jog -A-Thon on Nov. 7-8th at Kadena’s Marek Park.
Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen and family members participated in the run that serves as one of Kadena Special Olympics committee’s biggest events. Chip Steitz, senior advisor, Kadena Special Olympics, said that Army units donated more than $2,000.
"This year marks our fifth 24 Hour Jog-A-Thon designed to raise awareness and funds for our Special Olympics program on Okinawa. Truly an amazing out pouring of humanity as all services join together along with civilians and family members in support of this initiative.
The Special Olympics movement has a great story to tell. A story of victory and triumph that is more than forty years old and now includes over three million athletes from every corner of the world. Through their determination, their spirit, and their achievement, Special Olympics athletes have created a legacy that inspires us all.
Special Olympics deliver an important message, regardless of the country its athletes reside from. The message is that people with disabilities have talents and should be afforded the same opportunity to display their abilities and celebrate their successes”, explained Steitz.
Steitz added the athletes of the Kadena Okinawa Special Olympics Games not only demonstrate their talent and abilities, but also bring together the American and OKINAWA communities as partners.
“Together we recognize the "best of the best," helping foster mutual understanding and respect between the people of the United States and citizens of Japan. This year we celebrate our 13th year as an organization recognizing the achievements and successes of over 1,300 Japanese and American special needs athletes and artists.” said Steitz.
The Special Olympics will be held at Kadena’s Risner Fitness Center Field and more than 2,500 service and family members will join together in support of the Special Olympics community outreach initiative. Last year over 300 Soldiers from the 10th Regional Support Group and the 1st Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery volunteered for the event.
For more information how you can get involved with Special Olympics in your area log on to: http://www.specialolympics.org/