CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. - More than 200 athletes from over 35 schools and organizations, from the Clarksville, Fort Campbell, Sewart and Montgomery County areas showed up to take part in the 20th Annual, Area 12, Special Olympics at the Kenwood High School Sport Complex, April 24.
The games began with the Pledge of Allegiance led by Paula Anthony from Progressive Directions Incorporated, followed by the singing of the national anthem by Ashley Gaines a Clarksville high school student. Michele Moseley recited the Special Olympic oath and the ceremonial torch was ignited and carried around the track by a relay team of four.
As the games commenced and the athletes competed for top honors Soldiers from the 526th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) supported the competing Fort Campbell Schools by rooting on the participating athletes and ensuring they had refreshments after the competition.
“This is a great event for Soldiers to get out in the community and support the children of other military families,” said Tonya Wacker, a United Service Organization advisory board member. “I am really proud of all the Soldiers that came out today to support the children, regardless of which brigade they came from.”
For some of the athletes this was just more than being able to get out and enjoy competitive sports.
“Some of the athletes here will compete at a level that will allow them to go on and compete at the state competition,” said Gary Gerstner, assistant superintendent for Fort Campbell Schools.
Throughout the competition, all of the competitors earned placement ribbons. After the games’ closing ceremony, the 526th BSB command team presented the student athletes from the Fort Campbell schools a War Fighter award in the shape of a Soldier’s silhouette, decorated with the 526th insignia.
“It is an award that we give out in our organization that symbolizes the high standards we set for excellence and achievement,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Gerald Roberson, senior enlisted leader for the 526th BSB. “We think it is fitting that we recognize our student athletes for the wonderful job they did today and it is immensely important for us to be out here today to support our athletes. Our special needs athletes are our family members and they are war fighters. We support our community schools, so it’s just a pleasure for us to be out here to support them.”