This story comes from our first-ever athlete-leader PR assistant, Allison D’Agostino.
Audrey Verret is a genuine person as any person could be – should be. She puts others before herself. She makes certain the person(s) she’s with feels safe and comfortable. Verret will do anything for Special Olympics and its athletes, even the Missouri program. Most people in Missouri like to call that Special Olympics Missouri.
It’s difficult to put in words on how generous and caring she is. Verret has been involved with Special Olympics for eleven years now, as long as this writer has been an athlete. She loves to familiarize whoever she joins in conversation.
So far, USA Games 2018 is her current favorite. With World Games, it’s a unified umbrella, as she so eloquently pointed out.
“That’s magic in itself, but this is home pride,” said Verret. “It is an entire nation – again – unifying in a platform like this.” As the crowd of friends and families of Special Olympics athletes stand on the field behind her and the interviewer, she clearly feels at home. One would imagine she wouldn’t want to leave. Special Olympics is one huge family, quirks and all.
Ironically, the theme of this year’s USA Games is unity. The 50th anniversary since Eunice Kennedy Shriver created a local event for children with intellectual disabilities. She brought them together and formed something that would be so big, everyone will remember what she did and thank her.
She didn’t create just a local event. She started a family. One that even those without intellectual disabilities would want to join and be a part of it – unified. Audrey Verret, articulate as she is, expressed how it felt like a family to her.
“Special Olympics is more than just something I put my time on,” Verret started. “It’s more than – just something that I get to promote or that I get to be a part of. It’s more than just a community. It’s a family for me. It’s become a family for me. To be part of said family makes my heart feel whole.” It was the joy and culture of inclusion that convinced her to join Special Olympics those eleven years ago.
The staff, coaches, and athletes thank you, Audrey Verret, for becoming a member in a huge community what most of those call a family.