By: Erin Smith
The Bladen County Special Olympics were held on Thursday at the Elizabethtown Middle School football field. Members of Bladen County law enforcement, Elizabethtown Fire Department, Elizabethtown Police Department, Bladen County Sheriff’s Office, Bladen County EMS, Bladen County Schools, Bladen County Schools staff, volunteers from the community and members of the community all gathered to cheer on the athletes.
Members of Bladen County law enforcement carried the Special Olympics torch down South Poplar Street in Elizabethtown, escorted by the Elizabethtown Police Department, to the Elizabethtown Middle School football field for the Opening Ceremony. The officers carried the torch around the track and lit the Special Olympics Caldron to officially open the games.
Athletes competed for honors in metered track events, Bocce, Softball Throw, Tee Ball, Standing Broad Jump, and bowling. Athletes gave their very best as they attempted to throw the softball the furthest or jump the greatest distance.
“I love the event. I love the fact the community comes together to support these kids,” said East Bladen High School Principal Jason Wray. “This is their day.”
Each team that competed, created a banner that was entered into a contest. The judges fo the banner contest were Bladen County Manager Greg Martin, Darrell Copeland, pastor of Wesley’s Chapel United Methodist Church, and Bladen County Sheriff Jim McVicker.
When asked about assisting with the games, Sheriff McVicker said, “I feel honored and privileged.”
Copeland added, “I feel hopeful.”
Martin said that it was good to see the community support for the event.
When asked about the banners, Sheriff McVicker said, “They were all very good.”
All three judges said the decision on the banners was difficult as they were all very creative. While of the banners were colorful and well represented their teams, the judges finally reached a decision. First place went to Tar Heel Middle School, second place went to Elizabethtown Middle School, third place went to Community innovations and honorable mention to West Bladen High School.
Most Original went to West Bladen High School, Most Creative went to Bladenboro Primary, Most Athlete Involvement went to Bladen Opportunities, Best Olympic Theme went to East Bladen High School.
Also, Bounce Brothers supplied bounce houses for entertainment and there was also a face painting booth. Other special guests than those already mentioned in attendance for the event also included Buster the Bus, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and Spiderman with Ricky Dicky Entertainment, Coastal Therapy Partners, White Lake Fire Department, Strickland Golf Carts, Dan’s Golf Carts and Chris Abson – “DJ Chris.”
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