Bobbi Roberts named statewide Outstanding Coach, others honored

All of the coaches below were recognized for their outstanding contributions to Special Olympics Missouri from their respective areas at the SOMO Annual Awards Luncheon Jan. 16 in Branson. Each year, Special Olympics Missouri salutes those who have made significant contributions to the Special Olympics movement. Each area nominee is submitted for statewide recognition, and the overall winners were also announced at the SOMO Leadership Summit.

Robin Roberts has been a coach with Jackson County Parks & Recreation for more than 20 years. She coaches flag football, basketball and softball and is a Unified Partner in bowling. Robin started out helping with the JCPR teams, but it wasn’t long before she had her own teams within JCPR. She is a wonderful motivator for her athletes and works hard to keep them focused so they excel in their sports. Robin is also an active member of the Miles for Medals planning committee. This annual fundraiser goes to support agencies/fan clubs to provide uniforms, equipment and SGAs for the teams. This committee works hard to recruit riders, find sponsors and donors to help this event grow every year. Robin wants to see her athletes grow and develop in sports competition and everyday life. She has assisted athletes with job searches, roommate conflicts and other day-to-day problems. She is an asset to not only her athletes but the whole JCPR team!

Central Area is honored to nominate a husband and wife coaching team: Joe and Joyce Boss. These two individuals have done all they can to enhance the Jefferson City Parks and Rec program. Since these two have taken the helm of the program, there has been the introduction of new sports such as volleyball, flag football and more recently, powerlifting. Joe and Joyce do not have any children in the program, but have a love for the athletes as if they were their own. Not only do they coach, they also oversee the Friday Night Rec program for the city as well. They bring athletes to the annual Sports Camp in the summer and stay on to serve as group leaders. Joe and Joyce have even organized camping trips and Cardinals baseball game outings so that athletes get the chance to have other experiences as well. Fundraising is also a part of their lives in assisting with a concession stand for a summer boat race down the Missouri River, as well as, serving as host/hostess with the athletes at the Over the Edge event in Jefferson City. They also like to join in from time to time by serving as Unified Partners. And they think of other athletes from other groups by offering them they chance to have scrimmages and local games to further competition opportunities. We have not seen two people, who do not have children in the program, work as hard for their athletes as Joe and Joyce do for theirs.

Two years ago, Emily Sorensen stepped into the lead position in organizing and coaching Special Olympics athletes in the Kirksville area. She had to step into some very big shoes as Jaime Janes had built a strong program in the area. Since that time, Emily has continued to grow this program, nurture and advocate for athletes and Unified Partners, expand coach involvement and promote positive relationships with athletes, parents and community. Emily is now working with interested parties to build a program for adult athletes in the area. She is growing and expanding a solid program in Kirksville – her genuine kindness, clear thinking and absolute fairness merge with professional skills that build our athletes’ confidence, skill set (from language development, personal growth and educational goals) and opportunities. As the speech pathologist for some of the athletes, Emily has a gracious professionalism that impacts those she works with. She challenges her athletes in a positive way and allows them to experience new opportunities and spread their wings while holding them to a higher standard. Now that she leads the program, it’s reassuring to know she always has the best interest of the athletes (personally, athletically and educationally) in mind!

As a physical therapist with the St. Louis Public School system, Rosalie saw early in her career the physical and social benefits of Special Olympics Missouri and has been pushing ever since to make participation a priority for her students. Rosalie has really devoted a huge portion of her life to her students and their therapy, fighting limited budgets, limited time and resources and often administrative and parental resistance to give her students as many opportunities as possible. As the SLPS Special Olympics coordinator for years, Rosalie is always on the lookout for ways to include more students and offer additional sports opportunities, getting busses donated for events and Challenge Days, finding free venues for track meets and appealing to any potential sponsor she can find to support a bowling or special event. Most of this she does on her personal time as her PT duties take a majority of time during the school day. SLPS students with disabilities desperately in need of services are lucky to have an advocate as outspoken and resourceful as Rosalie, and we so appreciate all of her support of Special Olympics Missouri.

Peggy’s daughter, Lisa, has been participating in Special Olympics for many years. In the beginning, Peggy was a great spectator taking in Lisa’s accomplishments. It did not take long until we realized what a vital role Peggy would and could play in the area. She coaches bocce and bowling and she assists with many other sports in our area. Under her leadership, participation in the bowling program has grown to the largest ever. When she first started coaching bocce, she had approximately four athletes who consistently played — now she has more than ten. She is organized and helps them gain skills in the sport they are practicing and she also teaches them life skills so they can be prepared both on and off of the playing field. Simply put, she is there. Whenever we need her and whatever we need her for, she is there. If we need an extra coach, she will do it. Bus driver? She will do it. Chaperone or fundraiser? She’s there. Peggy is truly a giver who expects nothing in return. She is more than the mother of Lisa, she has a special place in the hearts of all the Southeast Area athletes and of all other people she gets to know. Never has she ever wavered in her loyalty to her daughter or to a program she is so much a part of. She truly does make a difference in the area. It is stronger because she is a part of it.

A couple of years ago, the longtime Nevada coach retired and Bonnie Franklin stepped into that position. Since that time, she has organized many events in the Nevada area to raise funds. She also hosts a local basketball tournament at the high school. She is an amazing person and loves all of the athletes. She is always there to help, gets her paperwork in on time and makes sure all physicals are up to date. Bonnie is always willing to help and makes sure that athletes are at area fundraisers to participate in any way that we need them. Everything that Bonnie does, she gives 100 percent to it and never lets anyone down. She involves the school and all of the parents with the program.

Knights of Columbus awarded SOMO’s highest honor


(Jefferson City) The Missouri state Knights of Columbus was recognized for its outstanding contributions to Special Olympics Missouri at the 2016 SOMO Annual Awards Luncheon Jan. 16 in Branson. Each year, Special Olympics Missouri salutes those who have made significant contributions to the Special Olympics movement. Past honorees have included Missouri State Parks, Missouri Association of Student Councils, Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri/Illinois Dodge Dealers and more.

This is only the second time since 1988 that the Special Olympics Missouri Board of Directors has recognized an organization twice for the Award of Excellence. The Knights of Columbus was first recognized in 1991 for its long-term commitment to the mission through financial support of Special Olympics Missouri.


Knights of Columbus past state deputy and current SOMO board of directors member Brad Grill accepts the award from current SOMO board of directors chair Dr. Phil Cook.

Twenty-five years later, that long-term commitment has extended beyond its initial purpose as the Knights of Columbus has committed to raising $1 million for the Training for Life Campus ( The annual contribution of funds from the Knights, the volunteers, meals and honor guards they bring to competitions and fundraisers they put on such as Cosmic Bingo, Denim and Diamonds is what makes them not just a donor, but a part of the SOMO family.

“The Knights of Columbus is proud of its partnership with Special Olympics Missouri,” said Keith Milson, Knights of Columbus State Deputy. “We consider our work on behalf of the athletes and their families as one of our highest callings and greatest achievements! We look forward to many, many more years of collaboration and support to (SOMO).”

Knights of Columbus past state deputy Brad Grill was in attendance to accept the award.

For information about Special Olympics Missouri, the Annual Award recipients or the 2016 SOMO Leadership Summit, including photos and video from the banquet, please contact Brandon Schatsiek at 573-635-1660 or email

Randy Boehm inducted into SOMO Hall of Fame

(JEFFERSON CITY) On Jan. 16 in a surprise presentation in Branson, long-time volunteer for Special Olympics Missouri Randy Boehm was inducted into the Special Olympics Missouri (SOMO) Hall of Fame. He believed he was simply attending a Special Olympics Missouri Annual Awards Luncheon to find out how else he could further the athletes’ cause when his name was announced at the Hall of Fame luncheon.

SOMO can induct up to two athletes and two non-athletes into the Hall of Fame each year.

Boehm will be recognized alongside the newest inductees to the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, including former Missouri Tigers football coach Gary Pinkel, longtime NFL coach Gregg Williams, Kansas City Chiefs center Tim Grunhard and more, in Springfield on Jan. 31.



Randy Boehm

Randy Boehm, Volunteer

Randy Boehm of Columbia has been involved in Special Olympics Missouri for nearly 30 years in many different capacities, including the regional Law Enforcement Torch Run ( coordinator for Missouri, the regional coordinator for the international LETR executive council for five years, the Missouri LETR committee chair for 10 years and the board of directors chair for two years.

As the LETR committee chair, he led the SOMO movement to achieve its first $1 million year and eventually reached the first $2 million year by 2012. In the 10 years he served as the committee chair, the Law Enforcement Torch Run raised more than $11.8 million. He continues to serve on the committee to this day and is a role model for many in the organization.

Most recently, he championed the support from LETR to commit to raising $1 million over five years for the Training for Life Campus ( capital campaign. This commitment showed that law enforcement wasn’t just funding the daily programming needs, but they were thinking of the future of SOMO’s athletes as well.

Boehm is known in the LETR movement across the United States as an amazing leader who always puts the mission and the athletes first.
For more information or to learn how you can support Special Olympics Missouri, contact Brandon Schatsiek at Information about the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame Enshrinement can be found at


Lt. Steve Davis, MSHP Troop I, Named 2015 John Michael Letz Award Winner

Steve Davis Letz AwardThe 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 $178,000 since its inception. The first recipient of this award was Ralph Biele, who was instrumental in starting Missouri’s Torch Run 29 years ago.

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 and who shows sustained commitment over a period of time.

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:

Steve Davis Flame of Hope Involved in the Torch Run for 17 years, first as a runner.
 Is involved in fundraising in both local and statewide fundraising events
 Volunteers to hand out medals at both local and state events
 Organizes a Torch Run before the area Spring Games, involving all local law enforcement agencies and the local athletes
 Serves as Region Coordinator working with recruitment and growing the LETR family in the Area; serving as Mentor to many.
 After becoming the region coordinator, this region was awarded the Greatest Increase in Gross Dollars for 3 years in a row
 Has been instrumental in growing the region’s torch run to include over 1,000 runners
 Had the idea to bring the Polar Plunge to their region and has served as Committee Chair since its inception
 Served as Missouri’s Final Leg Runner to New Jersey in 2014
 In the words of his nominators: “This recipient not only takes on the responsibility of fundraising, but wants everyone to know what Special Olympics stands for and what it does for its athletes around the world. He is a true friend and champion of the Special Olympics MO family.”
 It is my honor to present this award to a person who makes a big difference to his agency and his region; to the LETR family, and to SOMO’s athletes

Congratulations to the 2015 Letz “Unsung Hero” Award recipient: Lt. Steve Davis of the Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop I.

2015 Drive it Home Raffle results

Justin Janes was the winner of the 2015 Chevy Silverado! Congratulations to Justin and to all of the finalists who took home $500.

Grand prize provided by the Missouri Automobile Dealers Association. The Drive It Home Raffle is a project of the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Missouri. Proceeds benefit SOMO’s 15,000 athletes who participate in sports year-round across the state.

The Finalists

Central Area – Ticket #082553
Justin Janes purchased his two tickets from Randy Boehm (former SOMO Board Member and Torch Run leader).  He is attending the LETI Academy at Columbia’s MU campus where he hopes upon graduation to find a law enforcement job somewhere in Missouri.  He is originally from Warrenton.

North Area – Ticket #045301
Greg Smith doesn’t remember how many tickets he purchased because he says they are always supporting worthy causes in the community.  Greg is in outside sales with an engineering company in St Joseph.  He purchased his winning ticket from SOMO athlete Cody Anderson.  Greg has been involved in youth sports as a volunteer for years.

Southeast Area – Ticket #091421
Jim Ming purchased his book (10 tickets) from Mary Lou Hamman, who is on staff at SOMO.  He has purchased tickets every year for at least 10 years never expecting to win.  Jim is from Union and owns Ming Insurance which handles SOMO’s group insurance business.  Jim will be represented at the giveaway by his son, Cody, who will be his proxy.

Southwest Area – Ticket #060288
Drew Elrod’s dad, Larry, purchased 15 tickets in Drew’s name.  Larry is a longtime supporter of SOMO as a Board Member and Coach.  They hail from the Carthage/Neosho area.  Larry purchased the tickets from Robin Anderson, who is on staff at SOMO.  If he wins, Drew will keep the truck, sell one of their cars and use the money towards a down payment on a new house for he and his wife, Stephanie, who will be Drew’s proxy for the giveaway.

Kansas City Area – Ticket #031238
Teresa Berry purchased her one ticket from long time Special Olympics coach, Gayla Boyd.  Gayla has sold raffle tickets to support Special Olympics Missouri for years, but never had one of her tickets pulled.  She is as excited as Teresa!  Teresa never expected to win anything.  Both work together in Butler.

St. Louis Area – Tickets #024203 & #093936
Jim Frain purchased his five tickets from Julie Long, of the O’Fallon Police Department.  Julie and the O’Fallon PD have always sold raffle tickets; and this year they are excited to have a finalist.  Jim lives in O’Fallon and is very busy in the community helping with planning and zoning, historic preservation, and most recently lead a successful campaign to raise money to build a new police station.  He is known as the “grandpa” in his neighborhood.  His grand-daughter loves trucks.  If he wins, he’ll replace his beloved Chevy Blazer that has 250K miles on it.

Andrea Thomas is excited to be a finalist. She purchased her one ticket online from her friend, Dana Fulton, who works for the St. Louis County Police Department.  Andrea works for St. Louis County Family Court.  If she is the winner, this will be the first truck she’s ever had and she promises to put it to great use.

Proceeds benefit Special Olympics Missouri’s year-round program of sports training and competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. SOMO exists to provide year-round sports and training opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities and our athletes need you to get involved.  Become a coach,volunteer, recruit a future athlete and learn how you can make a difference

Making history: First ALPs University a success!

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For the first ALPs University, we had 17 athlete-leaders and 17 mentors in attendance.

For the first time, Special Olympics Missouri hosted an Athlete Leadership Programs (ALPs) University Nov. 7-8 in Warrenton. ALPs ( was designed to provide training for athletes who wish to expand their leadership role within Special Olympics Missouri.

Our athletes already learn how to achieve success, joy and acceptance on the field of competition, while ALPs will teach them how to achieve those same goals and feel just as empowered off the field of competition as respected leaders and spokespersons in their communities.

ALPs University is set up to function similar to any other college or university. Everyone will take an Introduction to ALPs class that gives our new athlete-leaders the basics on what leadership is and the class options that lie before them. Following Intro to ALPs, athlete-leaders will write a personal mission statement and choose a major depending on their interests. Majors vary from communications (public speaking) to technology (email/Internet, PowerPoint, etc.) to governance (boards and committees and Input Councils).

Future majors in the works will teach our athlete-leaders how to become coaches and officials, give them practice in teamwork and problem solving, show them how to write a resume and ace a job interview and so much more.

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From left, Joe Boss (mentor) and Clarence Bentley (athlete-leader) sit in the Governance: Input Councils class.

The goal of these courses and ALPs in general is to empower athletes so they can speak on behalf of SOMO as Global Messengers, serve as coaches and volunteers, sit on a board of directors, officiate competitions and represent other athletes as part of a SOMO Input Council. It’s all just one more way that Special Olympics Missouri is changing lives by giving our athlete-leaders the confidence to realize they do have things to offer their community.

Jefferson City athlete George Richardson is a communications major. After attending the first ALPs University Nov. 7-8, Richardson said his favorite part of the weekend was, “Going to my first class and learning to speak a lot clearer when giving a speech.” He also said he “enjoyed meeting other people.”

For some athletes, ALPs is about making new friends and learning leadership skills but for SOMO athlete and past SOMO board of directors member Robb Eichelberger from Boonville, it was about facing his fears. He chose the communications major to overcome his fear of public speaking.

Following ALPs, Eichelberger said, “I learned a lot about myself.
“The biggest thing I learned was how to write speeches and getting over my fear of public speaking.”

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Athlete-leaders and mentors work as SOMO Central Area Program Coordinator Megan Wallace watches on during the Technology: Email/Internet class.

His courage not only inspired other athletes but he inspired many staff members and mentors as well.

To take part in ALPs, each athlete-leader must have a mentor to assist them both during and after their classes.

Joe Boss, a mentor from Jefferson City said, “It was a wonderful experience.

“As a mentor the biggest thing I learned was how much the athletes wanted to talk and be themselves. I learned not to assume that the shyest of people wouldn’t come out of their shell. They got it right away and spoke more than I expected.”

At the conclusion of the weekend, each athlete-leader had the opportunity to voice their opinion at an Input Council. These Input Councils are a time where SOMO staff members can ask SOMO participants two simple questions, “What did you like?” and “What needs to be changed?”

For so long, staff members, coaches, family members and society in general have all just assumed what was best for our athletes. We never asked them their opinion on anything because we assumed they didn’t have much to share. The paradigm shift in this thinking has been happening – albeit slowly — for some time now as we’ve realized that not only do our athletes have opinions, but they have great ones to share from a much needed new perspective.

As far as training pubic speakers, SOMO has trained what we call “Global Messengers” for years. A Global Messenger is an athlete who goes through a training to learn to how to write and give speeches about their Special Olympics story. Through ALPs, these Global Messengers now have the opportunity to improve those skills by declaring a communications major and taking their public speaking to the next level through a second Global Messenger training that’s more intense and offers a wide range of speaking opportunities.

Derek Sandbothe of Jefferson City has been a trained Global Messenger for many years now and has been giving speeches all around mid-Missouri ever since. Sandbothe was able to attend the first ever ALPs University and, because of his prior speaking experience, advance directly into the Global Messenger II course.

“I really enjoyed it and I learned a lot,” Sandbothe said. “Jacob, my professor, was great and even helped me with my homework that night (at the hotel) which was awesome.

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From left, Lisa Gardner (mentor) and Joseph Niemeyer (athlete-leader) discuss what Special Olympics means to them during the Communications: Global Messenger I class.

“My favorite part of athlete leadership program was gaining leadership skill and learning how to give my speeches and how to shorten them. I learned a lot about speeches and how to approach different businesses and how to speak from the heart about how much Special Olympics means to me and what it has done for me over the years.”

At the end of each class, every athlete-leader has a practicum (homework) to complete before they can move on to the next class in their major. Depending on what class they took it could range from volunteering at their local SOMO office, to giving five speeches, to a series of technology-related tasks. It’s important that they have some kind of practical application for all of the lessons they just learned so it all stays fresh in their minds between classes.

The hope is that depending on schedules and personal preferences on what classes they take, each athlete-leader can graduate from ALPs University in two years (we offer two ALPs Universities per year). They are then free to come back and declare another major or even teach the very classes they were just sitting in. It’s all about getting them to realize their potential and give them plenty of opportunities to try new things and grow as people and leaders.

Special Olympics Missouri could not be more excited to offer this new leadership program to our athletes. We now not only believe that our athletes can be great leaders, but we are empowering them to do so! To learn more about the Athlete Leadership Program or how to become a mentor visit

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A huge thank-you goes out to the ALPs Management Team who made this all possible!

Player Profile: Richard Scott

Special Olympics has partnered with the University of Missouri and University of Arkansas to create our own Unified Rivalry series. The idea is that Special Olympics teams play each other just before the college rivalry games. SOMO will be playing a flag football game against Special Olympics Arkansas athletes on Sunday, Nov. 22 at 2 pm at the Walker Pavillion on the Arkansas campus. The team which raises the most money leading up to the game will earn a 3-point advantage. Help Missouri win by donating here!

Richard Scott DSCN0588What makes Richard Scott, a 34-year-old Lee’s Summit resident, an outstanding athlete? Maybe it is his incredible record that spans over two decades in sports such as bowling, bocce ball, flag football, tennis, golf, basketball and softball for Special Olympics Missouri (SOMO). Maybe it is his dedication and love for his teammates that makes him great. Whatever it is, there is no denying Scott is unstoppable and ready for any challenge.
Scott credits his parents for helping him get involved in one of the best commitments that has added so much more value to his life. Before getting involved with SOMO, Scott recalls not having any drive to even play outside as a kid. When he was eight years old, his parents encouraged him to participate in SOMO to create a fun, social and athletic outlet for his free time.

The first sport Scott participated in through SOMO was softball. Once he started softball, Scott explains, “I never stopped. I kept getting involved with others.” Evident by his incredible record, he has mastered several sports. Since getting involved with SOMO in 1989, Scott has gone on to place fifth in tennis at the 1999 World Games in Raleigh, North Carolina. More recently, he won the bronze medal at the 2010 National Games in Unified Golf, a team composed of individuals with and without intellectual disabilities.

Mark.Alan.Richard.friends w flairOver the years, he has accumulated more than awards; he has also gained many memories and experiences. His favorite part of being involved in Special Olympics Missouri is, “Getting to know teammates, meeting new players, spending time with younger kids, messing with the younger kids, and watching them in sports having a wonderful time.” He is looking forward to working with his teammates this Sunday for the Unified Rivalry flag football game against Special Olympics Arkansas.

Scott is extremely excited for the upcoming game against Arkansas. He is playing center for his flag football team and has been practicing very hard for the game. He just wants to “Get out there and win this thing!” Scott said, “We’ve just got to beat these guys for flag football! I look at the team, they look at me, and we know we have the plays and the strategy to beat them. I told them, we can always mix the plays up if they get confused.” Scott is confident in his team’s ability to beat Arkansas. He knows their practice and strategies have prepared the team for the big game.

richard s bocceScott has evolved since joining Special Olympics Missouri. He is not the same eight-year-old boy who did not want to play outside; he has become a proud athlete, role model and so much more. In addition to competing with SOMO, he is a loving brother, an involved uncle to a nephew and niece, and a hard worker at a Toys ‘R Us warehouse. Scott strives for excellence in all aspects of his life, not just sports. He works 52-60 hours a week and makes time for his other hobbies. When he is not working, spending time with his family, or playing sports, he is spending hours and even days on his artistic hobby, making artwork and framing them for loved ones. Scott says he even surprised his flag football coach with one that matched the colors of her house.

Richard Scott is undoubtedly a man of many talents and interests. He is considerate, hardworking and gives his best on and off of the field. Scott is a team-player, leader, and most importantly he is always ready to win!