Swinging for Special Olympics
London Community News
By Jonathon Brodie/London Community News / Twitter: @jonathonbrodie
The Special Olympics—London program is relying on dollars being driven by its annual golf tournament to help the group putt up to its yearlong money goal.
Around 70 golfers graced the greens of Maple Ridge Golf Club for the charity best ball foursome Friday afternoon (Aug. 17), helping the local Special Olympics program bring in about $13,000.
Along with the group’s FANtastic event, bowlathon and walkathon, the golf tournament — now in its 16th year — is one of local program’s best fundraisers.
“Our needs are many and our program is continually growing. We have well over 400 athletes now and 125 volunteers,” said Bill Mills, organizer of the 16th Annual Tim Horton’s Golf Tournament, adding 14 holes at the event are carrying sponsors. “We have no staff, so everything goes directly to the program.”
With a bill totaling about $160,000 a year to run the Special Olympics program, events like the golf tourney is always looking for good results.
“We’re doing things right. We have the money and our athletes lack for nothing—for equipment, tournaments, uniforms,” Mills said. “We provide everything to the athlete to succeed.”
Although not many of the special athletes were out swinging the club, London has about 65 people signed up to its Special Olympics golf program.
Mostly filling the greens during the fundraiser were volunteers and friends of the local Special Olympics program — a key piece to how the group continues to run.
“We have a very huge base of very quality and qualified officials and volunteers,” Mills said, teaming up on his foursome with international Special Olympics floor hockey officials Jim MacDonald and Jim Haycock, as well as Dan Armstrong, technical director for the next Special Olympics World Games. “Because it’s all volunteer driven everyone who is involved with the program as coaches or administrative staff are doing it for the right reasons. To get the best out of the athletes involved.”
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