Healthy Athletes Training: Pierce Rash

Pierce Rash, 35 has participated in Special Olympics since he was 8 years old and living in Las Vegas, Nev. He and his family moved to Missouri in 2004. In 2013, Pierce was selected to Team Missouri to compete in bocce for the 2014 USA Games in New Jersey.
He trained very hard and was thrilled to attend all of the events surrounding the USA Games! Pierce came home with four awards for his efforts and set his sights on the next games in 2018! In 2016, Pierce decided on his own that he needed to lose weight and get in better shape in order to try out in 2017 for Team Missouri. Shortly thereafter, Pierce implemented his workout plan.

Since a very young age, Pierce has worked out with Richard Simmons’s “Sweatin’ to the Oldies.” He added a treadmill for the 2014 USA Games training because he knew he may need to walk up to five miles per day while in New Jersey. 13458771_1147115122018457_2255665629168221542_o

To train for the 2018 USA Games in Seattle, Pierce has become even more serious about his training and told his mother that he wanted to focus on losing weight. The plan is to eat less, eat something healthy every three hours, drink more water, add an elliptical regimen and perform two workouts per day.

Pierce looked over every DVD at Wal-Mart for work outs and made the decision to go with Billy Banks’s “Taebo.” Pierce’s parents tried to discourage that DVD since it seemed very high energy and fast paced, but Pierce was insistent he wanted to try. His parents have been amazed with his dedication and performance!

Over the months, Pierce saw the pounds dropping and his body shrinking! He became obsessed with his workouts and sees this as fun and something he looks forward to every day. Pierce’s parents became amazed with his commitment to getting into shape and made sure he knew it was okay to “treat” himself with something he gave up (cookies, French fries, etc.) every once and a while.

As of his last check up in January, Pierce has lost 51 pounds without the help of any pills or powders and has gone from a size 40 pant to a 32. Pierce does one workout in the morning and then again around 3 p.m., which helps keep his metabolism burning off the pounds.
Pierce has been working hard on his form in bowling which is the sport that he wants to try out for at the Special Olympics Missouri Selection Camp. He is looking forward to the State Indoor Games in Ft. Leonard Wood where he is hoping for a gold medal which will allow him to try out for the team.

Healthy Athletes Training: Tanner Hrenchir

Tanner Hrenchir, of Special Olympics Missouri’s North Area, started participating in the sport of powerlifting two years ago and it has since became his favorite sport.  We believe he truly adores the individual aspect of it and the fact that each week he can see how much stronger he has become from the last week.

After state last year, Tanner created a new goal for himself– to work as hard as he ever has to hopefully be selected to participate on the next nationals squad for Team Missouri in the sport of powerlifting!

For more than 22 weeks now, Tanner has been meeting with Olympian, Pete Kelly, at 8 a.m. every Saturday  morning to train in his garage.  Pete gave him nightly exercises/lifts to perform and he has kept those going for 22 weeks as well! He has sheets to prove it where he has checked each one off.  My mother says he often spends another couple of hours per night on his exercises and lifts alone.  After Saturday powerlifting practices with Pete, Tanner then attends Special Olympics Missouri bowling practice as well.  He has even started in on cardio, which isn’t a strong suit for him.  It’s fascinating to see how much determination this guy has–he inspires me to get out there and get fit, to be kind and to love life.tanner

One of the greatest parts is Tanner is starting to see his own body change.  Every few weeks we have been upping the weight of his dumb bells at home and he sees his muscles getting stronger and stronger.  He is so proud of himself as he should be!  He is working so hard towards this goal, however he knows that if he does not get selected, there is always next time!

Tanner inspires me every day.  He has held a job since he was 18 (he is now 34) and has participated in SOMO for almost 25 years.  Of the 25 years, I can say I have never seen him more determined to meet a goal.  Through SOMO Tanner has found a HOME; our entire family has found a HOME.  SOMO is what our family does!  It’s our life and we wouldn’t be the same without it.  Thank you SOMO for giving Tanner opportunities such as this to strive for.  What an amazing life he has.

 

Written by: Katie Lyle, Tanner’s sister and coach

Healthy Athletes in DC, by Allen Tobin

The following is written by Special Olympics Missouri athlete Allen Tobin, who recently traveled to Washington D.C. with SOMO staff member Carol Griffin to attend a Healthy Athletes leadership conference. Healthy Athletes provides athletes with free health screenings in six different disciplines: Fit Feet, Special Smiles, Fun Fitness, Healthy Hearing, Health Promotion and Opening Eyes.

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I had the honor and the privilege to get to go with Carol Griffin, the Healthy Athlete Coordinator, to Washington D.C. for a conference in training to be an Athlete Leader in the Healthy Athlete program. I met Carol at the airport on December 6th to fly out to Washington D.C. We went to our hotel to check in for the conference and training. We got to see see and talk to Heather Hammer, the Healthy Athlete Director for Special Olympics International & Kristen Srour, who works for Healthy Athletes Special Olympics International.

On Monday evening the 12 athlete leaders and mentors had training to be a Healthy Athlete Leader. After our meeting and training we got taken out to dinner at a Greek restaurant which was a lot of fun. I got to try some new foods that I’ve never had, after dinner we came back to the motel and relax and get to know each other.img_1629img_1619

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Tuesday the conference started. We had breakfast and got to talk to the other people that came in for the conference. The meeting started at 9 and then we had a breakout session at 9:30 to 10:45. Four athletes got to do the breakout session. We gave speeches and answered questions. Then we took a break and had sessions and meetings all day. We had a healthy lunch with a few snacks and fruits and yogurt. We had different meetings all week with topics from ranging from new physical fitness programs, healthy diets and different things limg_1936ike that.img_1704

I enjoyed meeting other athletes from all over the country and even Canada and the District of Columbia. On Thursday night we had free time for dinner and got to go on a on a night tour of the different monuments in Washington DC. I had a lot of fun going to see things like the Capital, White House, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Arlington Cemetery, and Martin Luther King Monument. On Friday we had our final day of conferences, meetings and training sessions. We flew back back home on December the 9th.

I learned many important things at the conference. Statistics show that compared to people without Intellectual Disabilities (ID), people with ID:
*died 16 years earlier on average
*are at more unhealthy weight
*are more overweight or obese
*tend to have a higher blood pressure

It is important to learn how to be a Healthy Athlete because the healthier I am the more energy I have and the better I can be at my sports.

-Allen Tobin
Special Olympics Missouri Athlete
Healthy Athlete Leader

How I Started Special Olympics: by Brittany Selken

The following story was written by SOMO athlete Brittany Selken as part of her practicum for the social media class in our Athlete Leadership Program University. Enjoy!

 

Picture the year 2000. I had just started my Special Olympics career with my mother school Trails West State School. The main reason why I started Special Olympics in the first place was to make friends because at a young age I did not have that many friends because I was shy person and with my learning disability and the school kids making fun of me. At the age of ten you just want to make friends and be accepted in school and that was not happing for me at that time. My mother thought it would be a great idea to join Special Olympics because it would be a great place for me to make a lot of friends that I can have in my life for a long time and they would treat me like a normal person.

When I joined Coach Linda May’s team I was welcomed with open arms and I started making friends right away. I thought it was so neat that these athletes were just like me and I can be normal and not be shy when I’m around my teammates. The first sport I had ever competed in was skiing and I had never done skiing in my life so at first I was so scared that I was going to fail in this sport and that I was not good in enough to do this type of thing. I did not want to let my mom/teammates/coaches down when I was competed in this sport. I was so happy when I went to our area competition in Snow Creek, Weston Missouri. I had gotten my first gold medal and I was so excited that my mom and teammates were there to watch me get my first medal. The other sports I did with Linda May was skiing, floor hockey, basketball, track and field and soccer.

 

Then in fall/summer in the year 2004 I went to another team called Jackson County Parks and Rec whose head coach was Coach Bea Webb. Bea Webb went to my mom at this time and asked if she could have me part of her team to do more sports and help me grow up into a young lady. My mom said yes I could join her team. I asked Linda May if she was okay with that and she was fine with it because she knew that Bea Webb could take me to another level at the time. The first sport that I had competed in was track & field. To this day I’m still on Bea Webb’s team going from the time I was 12-years-old from being a bad little kid to become a young lady. Bea Webb has taught me to become a better athlete with all the sports that I had competed in with her over the 15 years since I had been a part of this team.

I had gotten to go to National Games three time because of Bea Webb who nominated me to be a part of Team Missouri. The first national games that I went to was in 2006 in Ames, Iowa for track & field.

Then I was blessed to be a part of the next two National Games in Lincoln, Nebraska in 2011. I received second place with my partner Tina Jones and in single I got first place. Then I got picked again in 2015 for National Games in Los Angeles again for tennis but with my unified partner Ashley Wurst. I got second in single competition and Ashley and I took home the gold medal in Unified tennis.

Officer Amanda Geno Named 2016 John Michael Letz Unsung Hero

We have many who are Torch Run enthusiasts; most we don’t know. We don’t know them because they don’t do the work for the recognition – and that’s why they are deserving of the Letz Award. They are usually in the background working to do more.

About this year’s recipient:

 Involved in the Torch Run for 7 years
 Is involved in fundraising in both local and statewide fundraising events
 Is the agency coordinator for their department, which has raised over $632,000 in the last 7 years
 Volunteers to hand out medals at both local and state events
 Volunteers at SOMO state events as an event manager
 Organizes a Torch Run in conjunction with local school field day events
 Serves on the local Polar Plunge committee and has been instrumental in growing this event to where it is today
 Serves as a Unified Partner and athlete mentor

In the words of the nominator: “This recipient always has a positive outlook and is always setting goals for not only the law enforcement officers but the athletes as well. This recipient is one of the most positive officers I have had the pleasure of working with.”

The 2016 Letz “Unsung Hero” Award goes to Officer Amanda Geno of Lee’s Summit Police Department.

Greater KC Public Safety Credit Union Plunges Into Fundraising

cu-in-the-water1The Greater KC Public Safety Credit Union is gearing up for its ninth year of plunging into the icy waters of Longview Lake for a good cause. Dubbed “CU in the Water,” the Credit Union’s team of brave plungers typically includes 20-30 credit union employees, friends and family. A few members of the team opt to take it to the extreme and Super Plunge (24 plunges over a 24 hour period). The team raises funds throughout the year by selling ice cream and candy bars in the Credit Union’s branches, as well as putting on garage sales and other fundraising events. This year, credit union CEO, Aaron Goff, hosted a “backyard concert” featuring Kansas City native rocker Bob Walkenhorst to raise money for the Plunge. “The Credit Union staff loves being a force for good in our community, and SOMO has been our primary charity partner for many years,” said Aaron. “We love Special Olympics, and we love the Plunge!” Aaron has racked up 80 plunges over the past eight years.

One of the team’s leading fundraisers, Laurie Clark, also stays up the night before the plunge to prepare and deliver a hot breakfast to all of the Super Plungers. When asked why she does it each and every year, Laurie’s response was “At first, I did it for fun. Now I do it for love.”

cu-in-the-water4Regular Super Plungers, Lindsey Moore and Becca Francis, both cite personal reasons for their support of SOMO. Lindsey said that, “meeting Special Olympics families and athletes has enriched my life and makes jumping into freezing water so worth it!” Becca echoed those words, adding, “I have [discovered] how important it is for everyone to feel accepted, not just in sports, but in life.”

Over the years, the CU in the Water team has managed to raise nearly $120,000 for Special Olympics and plans to keep participating for many years to come!

Registration is open for the 2017 Polar Plunge season. Find your location at www.somo.org/plunge!

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2011 Letz Award: Jeff Cook

The John Michael Letz Award was established in December 1994 for the purpose of recognizing an individual whose unselfish efforts and contributions are directly responsible for the success of the Law Enforcement Torch Run® for Special Olympics Missouri. It is our unsung hero award.

The Torch Run Committee elected to name this award after Mike because of his long-time efforts while serving on the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Dept. and who died from cancer. The St. Louis Trivia night fundraiser was his creation. It continues still today raising over $140,000 since its inception. There are Trivia Nights all over Missouri as well as in other states now as a result of the one started in St. Louis.

The criteria for recipients include:
Responsible for significant fundraising results
Participates in year-round support
Exemplifies the Special Olympics mission
Someone who is a visionary for the Torch Run
Someone whose source of motivation comes from helping the athletes

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Jeff Cook, second from right, receives the 2011 Letz Unsung Hero Award

In 2011, Special Olympics Missouri honored Jeff Cook of the O’Fallon Police Dept. for the following reasons:

 Involved in the Torch Run for 9 years
 Has served as his agencies’ Torch Run Coordinator for 7 years directing his agencies’ fundraising efforts by selling t-shirts, and organizing events like Raffle sales, and Tip a Cop.
 The first year he took over his agency fundraising totals increased 10 % and have continue increasing every year of the last 6 years
 Whether it’s a high profile event like the Polar Plunge or a more relaxed effort like hosting Cops on Top, selling shirts, or raffle tickets within the agency – he is the one who gets things done.
 Has championed the agencies Polar Plunge participation growing their team’s fundraising total each year – raising $88K in the last 2 years.
 Coordinated a portion of the local route of the Torch Run running the torch personally and ensuring the event runs flawlessly
 Their fundraising has grown as a result – during his 7 year tenure as Agency Coordinator, this agency has raised over $338,942!
 Served for two years helping coordinate the law enforcement participating for the State Basketball Championship
 Attends State Summer Games each year participating in Opening Ceremonies and staying for the opportunity to present medals.
 As a member of the State LETR Committee, this officer impacts decisions at every turn.
 According to his nominator: “This person brings great credit to himself, his family, the Police Department, the regional efforts of the LETR and to SOMO.
 There is something deep inside this man that is touched by Special Olympics. He can’t help himself; his enthusiasm is evident in the personal pride he takes in conducting himself and his events with the utmost professionalism while serving the athletes with dignity and respect.
 It is my honor to present this award to a person who makes a big difference to his agency, to the LETR and to SOMO athletes in the St. Louis Metro Area
 While one legacy may be the orange visors – there are many and none more evident by the way in which he treats his “water crew” assignment at the State Summer Games.
 The 2011 Letz “Unsung Hero” Award goes to – – Officer Jeff Cook – O’Fallon Police Dept.