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Kathleen Meagher, Grand Forks, letter: Special Olympics offers very special thanks

GRAND FORKS -- We struggle to find words to articulate the depth of our gratitude for the support given to Special Olympics North Dakota this year, beginning with the flooding through the recovery and building phase.

Many activities were put on hold or rescheduled, which made for a very busy September for Grand Forks. For example, a golf benefit to support programs for children and adults with intellectual disabilities was nearly cancelled in June due to a lack of sponsors and golfers, but members of the Forks Builders Association offered their member golf tournament to Special Olympics in September.

We remain "wowed" by their partnership. How can one begin to thank the hundreds of golfers and businesses that made this unique event a success?

Likewise, because of the statewide challenge of finding people to volunteer to train Special Olympics participants in soccer and bocce (because their volunteer time had been spent with the floods, their families and so on), Special Olympics North Dakota projected a drop in numbers for September's state soccer/bocce tournament in Grand Forks.

Instead, we saw an increase in both sports, due largely to the Grand Forks delegation's recruitment of youth soccer teams. Congratulations!

Additionally, the huge support from the community for the tournament -- close to 370 volunteers and 73 local businesses/organizations -- deserves a celebration of its own.

Last but not least, many thanks to Grand Forks and East Grand Forks law enforcement agencies and members for participating the statewide Law Enforcement Torch Run and Tip-A-Cop.

Tip-A-Cop is a fundraising event in which officers wait tables at a restaurant and collect "tip" donations for Special Olympics.

Recent news stories have focused on the economic impact of Grand Forks events. If there was a formula that measured "Positive People Impact" by tallying the number of volunteers, their hours of time and their generous donations of time and money, the total in this community easily would run into the millions.

Kathleen Meagher

Meagher is president and CEO of Special Olympics North Dakota.