Knights of Columbus members along with police and athletes hold the Special Olympics flag outside the Civic Centre in Chatham before it gets flown at the courthouse. March 25, 2019. (Photo by Greg Higgins)

CK honours local athletes for Special Olympics Day

Chatham-Kent police and the municipality honoured local athletes by holding a flag raising and cheque presentation for the Special Olympics.

The event was held outside the Civic Centre in Chatham, though the flag will fly on the pole at the local courthouse. The cheque presentation was for $1,000 to the Chatham-Kent Special Olympics from the Knights of Columbus.

Local athletes Terry Bell and Steven Williams attended the event to talk about how the games have affected their lives. Williams has won gold, silver, and bronze in his 11-year career as a bowler. He said winning isn’t the best part though.

“Meeting all the new people and making a lot of friends,” Williams said. “I’ve made over 75 friends on my Facebook from just Special Olympics and getting out there.”

Bell recently won silver in five-pin high-low at nationals in Vancouver. She echoed William’s sentiments that meeting new people and travelling is the best part of being involved with the games. Bell has been a Special Olympic athlete for 23 years and has participated in softball on top of her bowling career.

Constable Jason Herder represented the police at the event. He said police detachments throughout Ontario host all of the Special Olympic games.

“We’re the only province that does that,” Herder said. “It’s something that has been involved with police services across the province for over 30 years.”

He added there will be a few events and fundraisers coming up throughout the municipality. He said the first will be a pizza charity fundraising event at Boston Pizza on May 27. The next big event is the Torch Run on June 16 at Kingston Park. He said the detachment wanted to change it up a bit this year.

“This will be one of the first torch runs in the province where we will have a timed event for both five kilometre and 10 kilometre runs,” Herder said. “So we’ve kind of turned it more to the running enthusiasts.”

He added it is $40 for early bird tickets right now and all proceeds will go towards the Special Olympics with a goal of raising at least $10,000. Herder added there will be the annual motorcycle Torch Ride in August followed by a charity car wash and the NHL Old Timers game in October.

Chatham-Kent hasn’t held the provincial games since 1997 and while he is not making any promises to bring them back, Herder said it is an idea being floated around to pursue in the future.