Special Olympics Missouri’s Annual Award Winners Announced

Jennifer Neihouse, Jeff Fugett, Mike and Kathy Lowry and the Hewlett family were all recognized for their outstanding contributions to Special Olympics Missouri at the 2014 SOMO Annual Awards Luncheon Jan. 18 in Branson. Each year, Special Olympics Missouri salutes those who have made significant contributions to the Special Olympics movement.

Outstanding Athlete: Jennifer Neihouse, Lee’s Summit 

Jennifer Neihouse has everything a coach could want in an athlete–hustle, hard work, Jennifer Neihouse Athlete of the Yearalways smiling, cheering, great team work, willingness to try new sports and then some!  She participates in bowling, track, swimming, basketball, bocce, softball and powerlifting.  She would do more if we offered it and it fit her schedule!

Jennifer is currently tackling a swimming routine to improve her times so she can do well at this summer’s USA Games in New Jersey.  Once again, we have challenged Jennifer to work hard at a sport that is not easy nor her best one but once again she is doing the work and making improvements so she can do her very best.

Jennifer also exhibits a love for promoting the program and has taken the steps to be a Global Messenger.  She has given her time to go out and promote the message of Special Olympics to many groups in KC.

Outstanding Volunteer: Jeff Fugett, Bolivar

Jeff Fugett is a trooper with the Missouri Highway Patrol and has been involved with SOMO since 2000.  In his time with SOMO he has served on various committees and participated in the Torch Run every year.  Jeff also has volunteered his time at various events as well as hosting an area basketball tournament and has served for several years on the water crew at Summer Games.

At the 2013 State Summer Games, Jeff decided to come up early and help coordinate aJeff Fugget Volunteer of the Year group of officers to set up the games.  He then participated in the final leg of the Torch Run to open the games.  When medal presenters didn’t show, he stepped in and helped present medals to the athletes.  On top of what he did at Summer Games last year, he then did the same thing at Fall Games, helping with the tear down of each venue.

In addition to his volunteering at events, he is also a Super Plunger raising a minimum of $2,500.  He has been a Super Plunger for many years and truly does NOT enjoy jumping in the icy cold waters at the Lake of the Ozarks 24 times in 24 hours, but does so because he believe in the mission and in the nearly 17,000 athletes in Missouri.

Outstanding Coaches: Mike and Kathy Lowry, Independence 

Kathy and Mike Lowry are both dedicated, passionate and selfless coaches who give their all to Special Olympics Missouri.  The two-for-one package is hard to break.  Mike and Kathy are coaches who work on improving their athlete’s lives by growing them as Lowrys Coach of the Yearleaders both on and off the playing field.  They are always looking for better ways to improve their athletes’ skills.  They often give their time on a free weekend to travel to sports clinics and other activities, so the athletes can learn new skills and improve others.  Mike and Kathy offer seven different sports at William Chrisman High School, but when athletes want to play a sport they do not offer, the Lowrys find a team for athletes to play on, and make sure they get to practice.

Besides these duties, they both volunteer their time as key Volunteer Managers at the area & state level competition.  Both Mike and Kathy also bring their talents to Sports Camp for a week, in order to help make camp a wonderful experience fort the athletes.  It’s nice to count on them as they can be moved around at events to assist with different activities and they will make it fun for everyone.

Outstanding Family: The Hewletts, Warrenton

The Hewlett family is a family that goes above andHewletts Family of the Year beyond to build awareness for Special Olympics Missouri.  Kim Hewlett is the mother of D.J., Emily and Sarah.  Emily and Sarah are both athletes in the program.  D.J. is their older brother and he volunteers in a variety of ways as a chaperone, Unified Partner and venue coordinator.

Kim is a single mom who works a very demanding full-time job.  She is an advocate not just for her own children, but for others as well.

D.J. works full time at the sheltered workshop and goes to college in the evenings.  D.J. applied for the job at the workshop because of his sisters and his involvement with Special Olympics and his love for working with individuals with special needs.


Charity Navigator Awards Special Olympics Missouri a 4-Star Rating

4StarSquareCharity Navigator, America’s largest and most-utilized independent evaluator of charities, has awarded Special Olympics Missouri the prestigious 4-star rating for good governance, sound fiscal management and commitment to accountability and transparency.

“This honor means so much to our organization and our more than 16,000 athletes around the state of Missouri,” said Mark Musso, President and CEO of Special Olympics Missouri. “We are extremely proud to be known as one of the premiere charities in the state.

“To now be recognized as only the second Special Olympics program in the country with a 4-star rating proves to our donors that they are investing in a program that is using their money both conservatively and responsibly.”

Charity Navigator works to help charitable givers make intelligent giving decisions by providing information on more than five thousand charities nationwide and by evaluating their financial health. It calculates each charity’s score based upon several broad criteria, including how much is spent per dollar raised, what percentage of funds goes to programs vs. administrative and fund-raising expenses, and the organization’s long-term financial health. It then assigns a rating from one to four, with four being the best rating.

Special Olympics Missouri is a year-round program of sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. More than 16,000 athletes participate in 21 Olympic-type sports throughout the state. Special Olympics provides people with intellectual disabilities continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, and experience joy as they participate in the sharing of gifts and friendship with their fellow athletes, their family and friends, and communities across Missouri.

Special Olympics Missouri is proud of our financial health, returning 82 percent of every dollar back to program services. We are privileged to be recognized with these honors: Better Business Bureau A+ Charity Accreditation, Charity Navigator 4-star rating and an inductee into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame – Class of 2013.

Thank you for trusting us with your donations, volunteer time and your goodwill.

Award of Excellence: Missouri Sports Hall of Fame

Mo Sports HOF Award of Excellence

Each year, the Special Olympics Missouri Board of Directors chooses to recognize one organization who has made a lasting impact on our program. It is the highest honor bestowed by SOMO. The Missouri Sports Hall of Fame was chosen as the 2012 recipient.

Members of a task force formed by our Special Olympics Missouri Board of Directors began having conversations about a Hall of Fame for Special Olympics Missouri in 1996.  Their recommendations, followed by board approval, established the Hall of Fame awards process, which still today in 2012, is the highest award we give to an athlete and a volunteer.  Upon the creation of this award, we reached out to Jerald Andrews, Executive Director of the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.  The museum, which is located in Springfield, recognizes and honors the best in Missouri sports.  It was our hope to be recognized among them.  With Jerald’s leadership and the support of the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, we were allowed to create a permanent wall in their museum which recognizes our SOMO athletes and volunteers.  The wall display allows us to showcase pictures of our program.  Each year we add names to the plaque on the wall honoring our inductees.  These names date back to our first inductees in 1997.

The Missouri Sports Hall of Fame hosted our Induction Ceremony from 2000 to 2004 in their facility at no charge to us.  This allowed more family members to attend the ceremony.  Jerald and other members of the staff served as the Masters of Ceremonies.

Their support goes even further in that they incorporate our inductees into their Enshrinement Ceremonies each year.  Our inductees are invited to all functions and recognized on stage with a plaque.

In 2010, the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame selected our President & CEO, Mark Musso, to be a member of their Enshrinement class.  Mark was honored in all the activities that surrounded the enshrinement.  He was given the chance to speak to the group of over 1,000 and recognized in program books, trading cards and on calendars and posters.  There is no way to place a value on the publicity that SOMO received by being part of a distinguished class of Missouri sports figures.

In addition, through our relationship with the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, we have been a benefitting charity of the Price Cutter Charity Golf Championship since 1992, a donation which has totaled more than $500,000.

The partnership we have with Missouri Sports Hall of Fame is one of the strongest we have in the state.  Their acceptance of SOMO as a sports program happened immediately in 1997.  The partnership has grown stronger every year since that time.  We enjoy a relationship with Jerald still today and thank him for his years of service to our SOMO Board of Directors and former SEF Board.

It is an honor to recommend that the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame be honored as our Award of Excellence winner for 2012.

Ray Lauer and Linda Wiederholt Inducted into SOMO Hall of Fame

The SOMO Hall of Fame was created in 1997 by the Board of Directors as a way to recognize longevity and achievement of athletes and volunteers within the organization. A voting committee, appointed by the SOMO Chairperson of the Board, is responsible for reviewing all nominations and voting on no more than two inductees in each category.  To be inducted, finalists must be named on 75% of the ballots. A permanent display, housed in the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in Springfield, features photos of each year’s Special Olympics Missouri Hall of Fame inductees.

The 2012 inductees were announced Jan. 19 at our awards banquet in Branson, and they were enshrined in the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame on Jan. 27 in Springfield. You can read the prerequisites and download a nomination form on our website.

Ray LauerRay Lauer, Hillsboro (volunteer)

As a Deputy Chief with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, Ray became involved with the Law Enforcement Torch Run® for Special Olympics Missouri in the early 1990s. He eventually became the Chair of the LETR, a position which he held for seven years. During that time, the LETR doubled the funds it raised in Missouri and reached the $1,000,000 mark for the first time. Also during his tenure, Missouri was chosen as host for the International LETR Conference. Hosted in St. Louis, the conference launched Missouri’s LETR permanently onto the international stage, setting a high bar for future international conferences.

After his retirement in October of 2003, he served on the Board of Directors until 2011. During that time, he served on the executive committee of the Board as secretary. He remains active in the LETR and on the St. Louis Over the Edge committee, as well as volunteering at the Polar Plunge.

ray andy bev lauerIt is through Ray’s quiet demeanor and selfless attitude that he has had the greatest impact. An intangible impact is that through his example, all of his children followed in his footsteps in many ways. All three sons and one daughter became involved, either by volunteering at events or fundraising. His son Matt served as a staff member and his son Paul won the Wheels for Winners Raffle in 2011. Ray’s involvement will continue as a fan of SOMO as his grandson, Andy, born in 2008 with Down syndrome, looks forward to one day being a Special Olympics athlete.

Linda WiederholtLinda Wiederholt, Kansas City (volunteer)

Besides time with her family or with her job as a 6th grade math teacher, the vast majority of Linda’s time and energy is spent enhancing SOMO.

Linda became involved with SOMO in the 1980s because her brother, Daniel Schieber, joined a program in the Northwest Area. Linda once said “Special Olympics for me has been giving back to a program that has made my brother’s life. Friendships have grown throughout the state so much that I now refer to Special Olympics families as my extended family.”

She has been actively involved in both the Northwest Area and in the Kansas City Metro Area for decades. She participates in every facet of Special Olympics, including coaching, fundraising, mentoring, leadership, planning committees and recruiting athletes, volunteers, Unified Partners and youth. Linda is a member of the KC Metro Games Management Team. Even if she is actively coaching a sport, she takes part as the GMT and is always the first person there to help set up an the last to leave. She coaches and attends SOMO’s Sports Camp each year in Mexico, Mo. Linda attends and assists with all major Missouri events each year, including district, regional and state competitions and Leadership Conference. She attends and assists with KC Metro Area fundraising including the Dare to Dream Golf Scramble, Broadway Bridge Run, Polar Plunge and fundraising for her team. She is an active adviser on the Youth Activation Committee and Project UNIFY. Linda prepared and trained athletes for the Special Olympics National Conference held in Kansas City in 2000 and was a Global Messenger trainer.

Brittany pose medal cropLinda has expanded the Park Hill district from seven athletes to more than 100, and she continues to seek out and take on more athletes every sports season. She has greatly expanded the sports program, coordinating basketball, softball, track and field, tennis, bocce, bowling, golf and soccer.

She has been recognized for her excellence within SOMO through winning the Outstanding Coach award in 2007. She was selected  twice to coach Team Missouri for National Games. Her birth family, the Schiebers, won Outstanding Family in 2001, and in 2012 her “married life” family, the Wiederholts, were nominated for Outstanding Family in the KC Metro Area.

Do you know someone deserving of this award? Download a nomination form for the athlete category or non-athlete category

2012 SOMO Annual Award Winners

Matt Cepeda, Emily Reyes, Terri Dallas and the Rash family were all recognized for their outstanding contributions to Special Olympics Missouri at the 2013 Leadership Conference Jan 19-20 in Branson. Each year, Special Olympics Missouri salutes those who have made significant contributions to the Special Olympics movement throughout the past year. Each area nominee is submitted for statewide recognition, and the overall winners were announced at the Leadership Conference.

Outstanding Athlete Matthew CepedaOUTSTANDING ATHLETE: Matthew Cepeda, Kansas City Metro Area

At competitions Matt can always been seen trying his hardest and cheering for others. What is most impressive about Matt is his ability to be a leader in his school. He has become a huge voice around Missouri, but especially in Kansas City, for recruiting youth volunteers. He is the chairman for his school’s Fan Club and is the co-chair of Missouri’s Youth Activation Council. Beyond all this, Matt gives 100 percent to whatever sport he is playing, which says volumes since he plays eight sports!

Outstanding Volunteer Emily ReyesOUTSTANDING VOLUNTEER: Emily Reyes, Southwest Area

During her freshman year in high school in 2005, Emily volunteered to help with her school’s Special Olympics team. After that introduction, he became certified to coach bowling, basketball and track. Since that time, she has served as a counselor at Athlete Sports Camp and participated in many special events. Emily recently finished her four year term on the National Youth Activation Council for Special Olympics, Inc. She’s traveled the country as part of this prestigious group. She continues to stay involved even while in college.

Outstanding Coach Terri DallasOUTSTANDING COACH: Terri Dallas, St. Louis Metro Area

For the past 25 years, Terri has coached SOMO athletes. She has brought countless athletes out of their shell and introduced them to a new way to make friends and build confidence through sports. She organizes and coaches six sports and hundreds of athletes in Jefferson County. When one of Terri’s athletes qualified for the 2011 World Games in bocce, Terri was inspired to begin fundraising for a state-of-the-art bocce court for all the athletes through her program.

Outstanding Family RashOUTSTANDING FAMILY: The Rash family, Northwest Area 

The success of the Lake Viking Polar Plunge is due in large part to the Rash Family. Six years ago they stepped up to start the plunge at Lake Viking. Both Judy and James pour their heart and soul into the planning and fundraising for this event. James has become a coach for their son Pierce’s basketball and flag football teams. The whole family continues to seek new ways to improve our program and offer opportunities for everyone to participate.

Congratulations to all of our winners! Their outstanding contributions helped make this a great year for Special Olympics Missouri.

Sgt. Mark Koeller Receives John Michael Letz Unsung Hero Award

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® (LETR) for Special Olympics Missouri. It is our unsung hero award.

The Torch Run Committee elected to name this award after Michael 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 $150,000 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 first recipient of this award was Ralph Biele who was instrumental in starting Missouri’s Torch Run 27 years ago.  Previous recipients are:

Ralph Biele                             Rich Banahan                         John Cira

Mary Branstetter                     Randy Boehm                        David Pudlowski

Janelle Waterman                  Graham Burnley                     Jim Moran

Jim McCart                             Zim Schwartze                       Tim Goebel

Randy Werner                        Rick Hayes                             Don Spears

Jim McNiell                            Joseph Chapman

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

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 always in the background working to do more.

Sgt. Mark Koeller with his sister, mother, daughter and wife at the LETR Awards Brunch

Sgt. Mark Koeller with his sister, mother, daughter and wife at the LETR Awards Brunch

This year’s recipient was announced at the LETR Awards Brunch on Dec. 6 at the Capitol Plaza Hotel in Jefferson City. Sgt. Mark Koeller, of the St. Louis County Police Department, has been involved in the Torch Run for 12 years. He was recognized as the Region Unsung Hero after 6 years of Torch Run involvement. Sgt. Koeller has served as his agency’s co-coordinator, participating and recruiting in every event his agency is involved in. He volunteers to present medals at the State Summer Games as well as Area Spring Games. Sgt. Koeller has coordinated the law enforcement honor guard participation at the State Summer Games Opening Ceremonies for the past nine years.

What sets him apart is his contribution outside his agency’s involvement – hosting, organizing or recruiting other officers and agencies. Sgt. Koeller coordinated a regional truck convoy event with four agencies for five years that brought in sponsors, agencies, truckers and athletes and raised $22,429. He created a new route of the Torch Run in 2010, covering a new part of the region and recruiting 48 runners from 15 agencies. He helped start and still serves on the steering committee for SOMO’s first Over the Edge event, which has raised $511,000 in four years. Sgt. Koeller got his whole family involved and helped fundraise for his mom and wife so their experience going Over the Edge would be a life-changing one.

According to his nominator:  “This person doesn’t wait to be asked, he is committed and dedicated to the cause.  Whether he is protecting runners with his police car, carrying the torch, scaling a building, a cop on top, selling T-shirts, organizing/distributing/motivating for his agency, he gives his all with the mind-set of ‘whatever it takes.’”

He is a quiet leader who continues to challenge himself and others to work hard, be creative and dream of what is possible for Special Olympics.  He is a valuable team member who makes those around him better.

Special Olympics Missouri to be Inducted into Missouri Sports Hall of Fame

A total of fifteen inductees, one high school program and one statewide athletic program will be inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in ceremonies on Sunday, January 27, 2013, at the University Plaza Hotel & Convention Center in Springfield, MO.  In addition, the Hall will name its 11th John Q. Hammons Founders Award recipient and its first ever President’s Award recipient. The Killian Group of Companies is the presenting sponsor of the annual event, along with associate sponsors, Advertising Plus, Hiland Dairy Foods, Hillyard, Inc., and White River Valley Electric Cooperative.

For the last 42 years, Special Olympics Missouri (SOMO) has been the leading sports organization for people with intellectual disabilities. The year-round program, which offers 21 sports, promotes acceptance and inclusion. Through participation in these sports it is proven that SOMO athletes perform better at school, home and in their places of employment. SOMO offers both training and competition through 554 local programs in communities all over Missouri.

The Enshrinement events will kick off with a reception presented by Meek’s – The Builder’s Choice on Sunday, January 27, 2013, at the Hall of Fame from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.  The Enshrinement Ceremonies will get underway at 4 p.m. with a reception at the University Plaza Hotel & Convention Center, with the banquet immediately afterward. All festivities will conclude around 8 p.m. Please note that these times are different than previous Hall of Fame Enshrinement activities. 

Tickets for the Enshrinement are $150 each or $1,500 for a table of 10.  Tickets are on sale now and available by calling (417) 889-3100. Tickets are limited, so reserve your seat today. All proceeds will benefit the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.  For additional information please contact Marty Willadsen, Vice President of Operations and Administration at (417) 889-3100 or visit the Hall of Fame website at www.MoSportsHallOfFame.com.

The rest of the induction class includes:

David Eckstein – Shortstop, St. Louis Cardinals
After the 2004 season, David Eckstein was traded from the Anaheim Angels to the St. Louis Cardinals. In his very first year wearing “the birds on the bat”, the new shortstop solidified the leadoff spot by contributing 185 hits, with 26 doubles and 61 RBI’s. As a member of the 2006 World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals, Eckstein was named the World Series MVP. During the Series, Eckstein went 8 for 22 with 4 RBI’s and scored 3 runs, including going 4-for-5 with three doubles in game 4.  Though a Cardinal for only three seasons, David made two All-Star appearances and was a fan favorite. He finished his tenure with the Redbirds with 465 hits, a .297 average, and 115 RBI’s.

Mike Sweeney – First Baseman, Kansas City Royals
A 16 year veteran of Major League Baseball, Mike Sweeney spent the bulk of his career playing first base for the Kansas City Royals. During those years with the Royals, he batted .299 and hammered 197 home runs while batting in 837 runs and swiping 50 bases.  The 6’-1”, 195 pounder from Orange, CA appeared in five All Star games and was the 2007 winner of The Hutch Award which is given annually to an active MLB player who “best exemplifies the fighting spirit and competitive desire.”

Tony Richardson – Fullback, Kansas City Chiefs
Noted as one of the best blocking-backs to ever suit up, Auburn’s Tony Richardson spent 11 seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs from 1995 to 2005.  He was selected to represent the AFC in the 2003, 2004, and 2005 Pro Bowls. He represented the Minnesota Vikings in the 2008 Pro Bowl. While Richardson’s 24 career touchdowns all came while playing for the Chiefs, he led the way for backs such as Priest Holmes and Marcus Allen to score many more.  Richardson was the recipient of the “Whizzer” White NFL Man of the Year Award at the end of the 2010 season.

Kim Anderson – Basketball, Mizzou /University of Central Missouri
Kim Anderson played collegiately at University of Missouri from 1973-77, where in 1976; he was a part of Norm Stewart’s first Big 8 Conference championship team. He led the league in scoring and was named Big 8 Player of the Year in 1977. Anderson scored 1,289 points in his career to rank among Missouri’s top-20 all-time scorers. Kim spent many years as an assistant coach at Mizzou, but his longest head coaching tenure has been at the University of Central Missouri. There, he has won more games than any other coach in school history with a 222-82 (.730) career record. He has guided the Mules to two Final Fours, four MIAA Regular Season championships, and three MIAA Tournament titles. Anderson’s .730 overall winning percentage ranks fifth among all active NCAA-II coaches.

Scott Bailes – Baseball, Cleveland Indians
A product of Parkview High School (Springfield) and (Southwest) Missouri State University, Scott Bailes played nine seasons in the Majors as a member of the Cleveland Indians, California Angels and Texas Rangers. In his 1986 rookie campaign with the Indians, Scott carded 10 wins and 7 saves. He also notched 60 strike outs in 112 innings of work. He finished his career with a 39-44 record, a 4.95 ERA and 351 strikeouts. Still involved in baseball, Scott is employed by the Springfield Cardinals, the AA-affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals, in sales, marketing and broadcasting.

Conrad Hitchler – Offensive and Defensive End, University of Missouri
Conrad Hitchler was a standout two-way end for Coach Dan Devine, lettering from 1960-62. He led Mizzou in receiving in 1961, and was an all-Big 8 Selection in both 1961 and ’62. Hitchler earned All-America status as a senior, and then went on to play in the East-West Shrine Game, the Hula Bowl, and the Coaches All-America Game. He played three years in the Canadian Football League as a member of the Calgary Stampeders.

Ron Jacober – Broadcaster, St. Louis, MO
A long time sports fan, Ron Jacober took television broadcasting to a new level while working as the Sports Director of KMOX in St. Louis.  Rather than just reading scores and doing an occasional interview, Jacober introduced the idea of vignettes and one hour television sports specials; something unknown in those days.  Ron has over 40 years in the field of sports broadcasting with over 20 of those behind the mic as he and partner Jay Randolph were the announcers for the St. Louis Cardinals televised games on News Channel 5.

Joe Scott – Basketball, Poplar Bluff, MO
As a Gainesville High School Bulldog, Joe Scott was no stranger to scoring, averaging nearly 31 points per game. In one prep contest, Scott knocked down 58 points to lead his team to victory. During his senior year, Joe scored in excess of 1,100 points, and held the highest scoring average in all classes of the state. Scott holds the single game scoring record for the University of Missouri, with 46, a record that is still standing after 51 years. He starred for Coach Sparky Stalcup’s Tigers from 1957 to 1961.  Known as the Gainesville Gunner, all of Scott’s scoring came before the advent of the three-point line.

Harley Race – Professional Wrestler, Eldon MO
Harley Race’s legendary wrestling career spanned nearly four decades.   During that time Race won eight National Wrestling Association (NWA) World Championships plus dozens of other regional titles, and managed two wrestlers to the World Championship Wrestling (WCW) World Championship. “Handsome Harley” Race was also involved in operating the NWA territories in Kansas City and St. Louis. He is a member of the WCW and the World Wrestling Entertainment Hall of Fame.

Tom Rutledge –Cross Country, Track and Field Coach, Missouri Southern State University, Joplin, MO
Tom Rutledge came to Missouri Southern in 1988 as an assistant football coach, and in 1989 became the first head cross country and track and field coach for both men’s and women’s programs.  Since that time Rutledge has been named MIAA Men’s Cross Country Coach of the Year five times and Indoor Coach of the Year twice. He has mentored eight cross country All-Americans and fifty-five Track and Field All-Americans, including many achieving multiple All-American honors.

Linda Lampkin – Volleyball Coach, Hermann, MO
In 2011, Hermann’s Linda Lampkin was named a member of the inaugural class of the Missouri High School Volleyball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.  In 33 years she has compiled a record of 793 – 277 – 39.  Her teams have won 17 conference and 28 district championships while going to the Final Four 20, times bringing home the state crown 11 of those times.  In 2009, Linda was named the National Federation of High School Association’s Midwest Section and National Volleyball Coach of the Year. 

Dale Russell – Basketball, Branson, MO
Born and raised in Branson, Missouri, Dale Russell was a standout athlete for the Branson Pirate Basketball team that went a perfect 41 and 0 en route to the 1955 Class B State Championship.  At only 6’- 2”, Russell played center for the Pirates. His height, however, was not a handicap as he was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. After playing and lettering for four years for Coach Eddie Matthews at (Southwest) Missouri State University, Dale went on to coach for 24 years in southwest Missouri, his last 13 at his hometown, Branson High School.

Dr. Richard Seagrave – Sports Physician, Springfield, MO
Dr. Rick Seagrave earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan, before heading south to work on his doctorate at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. It was at UTMB that Dr. Seagrave did his residency in Orthopedics. Always interested in sports, Rick moved to Los Angeles where he completed a fellowship in Sports Medicine. In 1983, Dr. Seagrave relocated to Springfield, MO where he teamed up with St. John’s (now Mercy) in their Orthopedic Department. He has been instrumental in the expansion of Sports Medicine prevention, care and rehabilitation in the Ozarks since then. Dr. Seagrave is one of the team physicians for the Missouri State Bears.

Dave Palmeiro – Football Coach, Tarkio, MO
28 of Dave’s 30 years in coaching have come at the helm of the Tarkio Indians at Tarkio High School. During his tenure there, Coach Palmeiro amassed a total of 204 victories against only 56 defeats and five ties.  A 1993 inductee to the Missouri Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame, he guided his Indians to a State Title in 1971, with runner-up finishes in 1991 and 1995.

Jim Chappell – Sports Museum Entrepreneur, Kansas City, MO
Jim Chappell, a native of Keokuk, Iowa, graduated from Drury University.  Chappell has been regarded as one of the top sports personalities in the Kansas City area with his Chappell’s Restaurant and Sports Museum. Originally opening in North Kansas City, MO. in 1986, the restaurant has become a destination for athletes and sports fans alike while visiting the Midwest. Chappell’s has been recognized as one of the nation’s top sports restaurants by multiple publications and websites including Sports Illustrated, Yahoo! and the Chicago Tribune.

Jefferson City Track and Field Program, Jefferson City, MO
For the past quarter decade the Jeff City Jays have set a bar of excellence which few programs exceed. The records created by combining their Boys and Girls teams boast an impressive 20 undefeated seasons, 40 District Championships, and nine State Championships. During that time frame, the Jays Head Coach Dennis Licklider has had a total of 711 individuals qualify for state competition.

Springfield Remanufacturing Co. (SRC) – John Q. Hammons Founder’s Award, Springfield, MO
SRC Holdings Corporation is the oldest employee-owned remanufacturer to OEMs in North America. Once a struggling division of International Harvester, SRC has transformed into one of the most successful and competitive companies in America. Under the leadership of their President and CEO, Jack Stack, SRC Holdings has become a thriving company that has been profiled by entities such as BusinessWeek, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, MSNBC and The PBS News Hour. Most notably, SRC is known as the birthplace of Open-Book Management. Through implementing this philosophy of business transparency, SRC increased its stock price from 10 cents per share in 1983 to over $237 per share today. SRC is currently comprised of 1,200 employees in 11 business units across a variety of industries which produce $350 million in annual sales.

Charlie Gallagher – President’s Award
The first President’s Award will be presented to local businessman, Charlie Gallagher.  Charlie has been a great friend to Missouri State University and Mizzou sports programs the past several decades. Charlie is a past member of the Hall of Fame’s Board of Trustees and is currently serving on the Hall’s Advisory Board.  Charlie was the fundraising leader of the John Kadlec Legend campaign in 2011.  His efforts help the Hall of Fame set a new level of success for its Sports Enthusiasts Series.

Annual Award Winners

Each year, we recognize those who have made significant contributions to our program. Areas announce their winners at Area Spring Games, and the statewide winners are unveiled at the Opening Ceremonies of our State Summer Games. Here are this year’s honorees.

Outstanding Volunteer

  • Charlie Aiken, Southwest Area
  • Dana Griesinger, Central Area
  • Elizabeth Janes, Northeast Area
  • Bill Morrow, Kansas City Metro Area
  • Jen Rose, Southeast Area
  • Kaylee Schoenfelder, Northwest Area
  • Rose Schwendemann, St. Louis Metro Area

This year’s Outstanding Volunteer is Rose Schwendemann. Rose comes to us from Shop ‘n Save, where she was the Manager of Front End Operations. Shop ‘n Save is one of our biggest partners, which you already know if you’ve been to any events in the St. Louis Metro Area. They do an incredible job of raising funds and awareness for Special Olympics Missouri, and Rose is cut from the same cloth.

She volunteered to be Shop ‘n Save’s “champion,” or point person, for our annual Wheels for Winners Raffle in 2010. She liked it so much that she returned as a champion for the raffle again in 2011. She played a key role in distributing raffle tickets, logging sold tickets, and scheduling times to have the 2011 Camaro parked in their store to boost sales. Her husband, Terry, and son, Jason, have gotten involved in the effort as well, volunteering with Rose to pick up the Camaro an hour and half away.

Rose became known for her elaborate, color-coded Wheels for Winners calendar in her office. Her goal was to beat the previous year’s Raffle total of $25,000. Well, thanks to Rose’s hard work, the 2011 Raffle total surpassed that by $12,000, raising $37,000!

Rose also volunteers at other events around the St. Louis Metro Area, including the Polar Plunge and Over the Edge. Her son, Jason, has already caught the SOMO bug and has begun fundraising to go Over the Edge in St. Louis this October! Rose – your efforts, passion, and enthusiasm are definitely contagious. We are so impressed and thankful for your support!

Outstanding Family

  • Berryhill Family, Southeast Area
  • Brokamp Family, Central Area
  • Janes Family, Northeast Area
  • Miller Family, Southwest Area
  • Rowell Family, Northwest Area
  • Tarry Family, Kansas City Metro Area

The Central Area staff cannot remember a time when the Brokamp family was not an integral part of the Special Olympics Missouri program.  In fact, we can’t remember a time when the Brokamps have ever said “no” to the Central Area.  Let’s say we needed someone on short notice to speak about what Special Olympics has done for them… the Brokamps always make themselves available.  They’ve been there to set up, tear down, score, escort, register volunteers, recruit volunteers… the list goes on and on.

Over the years, the Brokamps have brought that kind of enthusiasm to the Central Area and to the rest of Missouri, but in 2011 they continued to step up their involvement.  Beth has been asked many times to represent SOMO as a public speaker, especially following her induction into the Special Olympics Missouri Hall of Fame this year.  Linda served on the Columbia Polar Plunge committee as the Post Party Chair, and she has taken on additional duties this year as the Chairman of the State Summer Games and the Family Recruiting Chair of the Capital Campaign.  Ken is no stranger to the SOMO staff either – he’s always there as a volunteer in the souvenir stands, getting Beth to and from events, and working with Linda to accomplish her work.

The energy in this family is like none we’ve ever seen!  We feel honored to have the Brokamps as friends and to present them with this well-deserved award for Outstanding Family in 2011!

Outstanding Coach

  • Kathy Butler, Northeast Area
  • Steve  Farkas, St. Louis Metro Area
  • Kadi Haslag, Central Area
  • Dawn Jones, Kansas City Metro Area
  • Lyle Kirk, Northwest Area
  • Todd Koester, Southeast Area
  • Emma Vasquez, Southwest Area

This year’s Outstanding Coach honors go to Lyle Kirk.  Lyle coached the Grundy County DAWGS for many years and worked with teams in a variety of sports, including basketball, bocce, softball, and bowling.  Lyle had a special way of taking our athletes under his wing, developing trust, and encouraging them to become self-confident.  Lyle passed away on November 21, 2011.

We will always remember Lyle’s great attitude, amazing heart, and infectious smile.  At every Northwest Area Tournament you could count on Lyle coaching his teams to be respectful and to play with honor.  If Lyle happened to be watching another team from Grundy County play, you could always count on him to be the loudest fan, encouraging his athletes to do the “DAWGS” chant on the sidelines!

Lyle also helped to start up the first-ever Young Athletes Program in Trenton, MO which continues to this day.  On Young Athlete Nights, he always made sure every athlete had a buddy, they all understood, and they all could participate.

At Lyle’s funeral, one of his athletes said, “It didn’t matter if we won or lost, Lyle always said all that matters is that we did our best.  We always did our best and it shows because at our last tournament we won the sportsmanship award.  Lyle helped us do that.”

As you can see, Lyle instilled in these athletes what our coaches are meant to instill:  sportsmanship!  His athletes will live on remembering what Lyle taught them. They will continue to play with honor and heart in the name of Lyle Kirk.

Lyle Kirk was a special man and a very special coach for the Northwest Area.  We will miss him greatly.  Another coach from Grundy County, Brenda Thorne, put it quite nicely: “HE IS OUR HERO!”

Outstanding Athlete

  • Justin Bernhardt, St. Louis Metro Area
  • Joey Breeden, Northeast Area
  • Brianne Chavez, Southeast Area
  • Jenny Dayton, Southwest Area
  • Kizzy Dutton, Northwest Area
  • Leanna Krogmann, Central Area
  • Brittany Selken, Kansas City Metro Area

We are proud to honor Leanna Krogmann as our Outstanding Athlete in 2012.  In 2011, Leanna reached a major milestone in the career of any Special Olympics athlete: attending the World Games in Athens, Greece.  Better still, she competed in her favorite sport, swimming.  Leanna moved from Hannibal to Columbia and immediately began her training as a swimmer.  Every parent, coach, and athlete she comes into contact with takes notice of her infectious “never give up” attitude.  Always looking for a new challenge, she joined a new team to work with a college-level swim coach and continued to flourish as an athlete.

She’s more than an athlete though.  Leanna worked with her parents to raise over $5,000 to pay for her trip to the World Games.  Always an ambassador for Special Olympics, she embodies the spirit of competition, learning, determination, and teamwork.  Her coaches recall that after she won a gold medal at Athens, she returned home to Columbia wearing all four of her medals at once with the gold medal underneath the rest.  She was wearing them in the order that she received them, none more important than the others.  Each of those medals represented a unique achievement and Leanna wore each of them with pride!

Today, Leanna Krogmann trains and competes as hard as ever.  For her, Special Olympics is a way of life, full of opportunities even after competing at the World Games.  Thank you for representing us so well, Leanna!

View photos of all of our nominees on our Facebook page.