There aren’t any perfect people in this world, but talk to some of Seth Dye’s coaches in Carthage and they’d tell anybody willing to listen that Dye comes pretty close to being the perfect SOMO athlete.
“Seth is kind, considerate, helpful and always tries his best,” said his coach of five years, Mary Frazier. “He always lends a helping hand to others. He has good work ethic and is a good friend to others.”
But Frazier said what really separates Dye from other SOMO athletes is that “he never gives up.”
“He has worked so hard to be the best that he can be.”
Melissa Reese, Dye’s mother, said he has grown so much over the years, but it hasn’t always been easy.
“Having a child with special needs has been an emotional roller coaster as a parent,” Reese said. “The first half of Seth’s life was all uncertainty and struggles – trying to help with school and after-school programs. And help in general for a parent at this time wasn’t an easy task.”
That’s where the Special Olympics program really helped change things for Reese and her son.
“But the second half has been a whole other story. … Special Olympics has taught him some amazing things… understanding autism and having a great doctor has made a huge impact. Seth has grown to (a degree) understand himself and how he is feeling,” Reese said.
“He is able to communicate much better on issues and problems he has. He has become much more social and loves meeting up with friends and just hanging out with other kids and young adults his age.”
Dye, who graduated from Carthage High School in 2013, said while he participates in bowling and track and field, basketball is his favorite SOMO sport.
“My favorite part about SOMO is the medals and friends,” Dye said.
Dye still competes with his fellow Carthage High School students at Special Olympics Missouri events.
Southwest Area Program Coordinator Stevie Lain said she wanted to highlight Dye not just because of his involvement with SOMO, but his push to help other people as well.
He recently ran in the Camp Barnabas Big Party Half Marathon and 5k, which raised money and awareness for people with disabilities.
Dye finished 7th in his age group of 19 and under and 77th out of 167 total runners.
“I spoke with Seth and his mom after the race,” Lain said, “he was very excited and looking forward to running again next year. He wants to get some of his fellow Carthage Special Olympics friends to join next time.”
For Reese, it all comes back to how SOMO has played an integral role in shaping her son’s life since his involvement began.
“Seth has grown into an amazing young man. He loves to help. Special Olympics has taught him so much,” Reese said. “He has learned that working hard toward goals has great rewards.”