Galena, IL – Illinois State Troopers joined the ranks of volunteers at this year’s Illinois Winter Special Olympics held in Galena, Illinois from February 3-5, 2015.
Just as predicted, the Illinois winter was unpredictable. Weather ranged from snow to sunshine with temperatures in the 30’s to 20 below with wind-chill. None of that mattered when the hearts of so many Special Olympic Athletes shined to warm everyone in attendance.
Uniformed Illinois State Police Troopers have been representing their agency at the Winter Games since 2008, save 2011 due to the blizzard that forced the games to close. During the last eight years troopers have filled many roles for the games to include: setting up courses, time keeping, starting line officials, and ski buddies. The most rewarding task for these Troopers has been handing out awards. Between tears of joy, squeals of excitement and many hugs, these veteran troopers are able to walk away from this experience proud to wear the uniform and know they serve a truly noble purpose as they go forth to the next task their duty takes them to.
“This was my first opportunity to become involved with the Winter Games and I enjoyed it very much,” stated first time attendee Major Robert Atherton, Region II Commander, “Working alongside these incredible athletes and other wonderful volunteers was a truly rewarding experience. I am certainly hooked and plan to continue supporting Illinois Special Olympics.”