Hi Everyone!

For the fourth or fifth year in a row I have volunteered as the in-house announcer for the Special Olympics Canada Festival Gala. A two day celebration and fundraiser for this amazing organization.

I wanted to share my perceptions of two inspirational men:

The first is Dr Frank Hayden. This University of Toronto trained physician is the scientific heart of Special Olympics with the late Mrs Eunice Kennedy Shriver as the emotional heart. Between his scientific and her observational premise that people with intellectual disabilites profited from physical fitness, the Special Olympics movement was born in 1968 in the US and is celebrating 40 years in Canada in 2009. As impressive as the 34,000 Special Olympics Athletes in Canada and (I read) 1.5 million athletes in 160 countries worldwide are, what was more impressive was Dr. Hayden’s speech on the awards night.

I was struck by his humility and integrity and the obvious pride that he feels at the growth of the organization. Even more impressive was his acknowledgement of the role that the parents play in the lives of their Special Olympics athletes and without their dedication and commitment, there would not be the Special Olympics opportunities for lots of the athletes.

The message? We all need to act with energy and commitment on the ideas that could enhance the word or our little corner of it. You never know whose life you may touch.

The second man? Michael “Pinball” Clemons.

Behind the ever present smile is a mind that is as agile as his feet once were on the football field. He spoke with passion and from the heart about Special Olympics and his effect on the crowd makes him that rare bird who really can have an audience eating out of his hand. You have to understand that at a corporate function of 750 people, guests are just as often immersed in conversations at their own tables. With “quiet” chatter X 750 people, the result is “less than”.

His ability to command attention is such that he was able to lower his voice to a whisper and the room became still. So still in fact that you could almost hear the person next to you breathing. Not only was his message compelling but his spellbinding delivery elevates him to “Speech Sorcerer” in my mind.

If Pinball (Mr. Pinball to me) were to read the phonebook, I would undoubtedly listen.

For the moment though, I gotta get the laundry done!

Thanks to the Special Olympics Canada family for including me…am already looking forward to next year!


Pj 🙂

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