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    U.S. Soldiers Host Special Olympians of Romania

    U.S. Soldiers Host Special Olympians of Romania

    Photo By Spc. Hannah Tarkelly | U.S. Soldiers and athletes from the Special Olympics of Romania play basketball at the...... read more read more

    MIHAIL KOGALNICEANU AIR BASE, ROMANIA

    11.06.2018

    Story by Spc. Hannah Tarkelly 

    382nd Public Affairs Detachment

    MIHAIL KOGALNICEANU AIR BASE, Romania - U.S. and Canadian service members joined the Special Olympics of Romania for a combined athletic event, Nov. 6, 2018.

    By the blow of a whistle the basketball game begun, drawing the attention of more than 100 spectators from across the world. After multiple passes, one of Romania’s very own Special Olympic Athletes shot the ball from behind the three point line. The entire gym watched with intensity and roared with excitement as the ball swiftly went through the net.

    Basketball was one of five sporting events that helped unite countries and support the building of international relations.

    “This is a great event that builds unity,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Henry McCaskill Jr. the Chaplain for the Black Sea Area Support Team. “We all grow together in these kind of events as we reach out and support each other.”

    32 athletes from the Special Olympics of Romania showed off their skills and talents through multiple games of: bocce, rollerblading, table tennis, gymnastics and basketball.

    More than 30 volunteers for the U.S. Army Soldiers and Canadian forces showed their support through cheering on the athletes and playing alongside the athletes in the games.

    “I am participating today to provide a helping hand to give back to the community,” said U.S. Airman 1st Class Bruce Lynan, the Joint Tactical Assault Command assigned to 2-5 CAV.

    Strangers soon became friends as the games grew more intense and exciting. The gym came to life with the sound of high-fives, laughs and cheers as the athletes showed off their many skills and talents.

    “Even though we are from different countries, we can still get along,” said U.S. Army Spc. Rusty Towery assigned to 2-5 CAV.

    Service members got an opportunity to take a break from their daily routine and put their energy towards an event that didn’t involve a direct military operation.

    “I like how we are showing another side of the military that isn’t shown to other countries that might not think much of us,” said U.S. Army Spc. Stefany Almazan assigned to FSC 2-5 CAV.

    Some volunteers or participants also had personal reasons for attending the event.

    “I have a special needs child back at home so this kind of touches home,” said U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Timothy Baxter of India Forward Support Company attached to 2-5 CAV. “It’s an opportunity to connect with these young kids because this isn’t anything out of the ordinary. We have the same special needs kids back at home and just another great opportunity to share with these kids.”

    This eye-opening event allowed participants and volunteers an opportunity to gain a new perspective of community, different countries, special needs and even life itself.

    “It’s one of the first events I've done in the military like volunteer work so it’s something that’s going to help better myself and help me grow as a person,” Bruce said.

    The event ended with a group picture and the passing out of medals for the participants and volunteers. The good-byes were bitter-sweet and will leave a long lasting impact on all those involved.

    “We’re not just here to train...we actually care about the local community and the kids,” Baxter said.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 11.06.2018
    Date Posted: 11.06.2018 14:02
    Story ID: 298963
    Location: MIHAIL KOGALNICEANU AIR BASE, RO

    Web Views: 179
    Downloads: 3
    Podcast Hits: 0

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