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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

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Gresham’s Named SOTX’s Family of the Year
Special Olympics of Texas

October, 2015

Special Olympics Texas (SOTX) has officially announced the winners of its 2015 Volunteer Awards.  Among the 15 recipients, Sherman’s Katie, Michael, Paul and Amber Gresham have been tabbed with the organization’s Family of the Year honor.

 

The Gresham family will be formally recognized at an awards ceremony on Friday, Oct. 9 in Bryan/College Station during the 2015 SOTX Fall Classic competition.

 

The Gresham’s have been involved with SOTX only since 2013, but have been involved with the organization for over 30 years, as they were very active with Special Olympics while living in California.

 

“[Katie and Michael] saw the need for a year-round program for Olympic-based sports in their community, as their son (Paul) and daughter-in-law (Amber) were in need of not only physical activity, but social activity,” Sherman Shooting Stars coach and volunteer Barbara Cooper said.

 

In the spring of 2013, the local program Paul participated in was diminishing, as was his health and outlook on life. Katie wanted to rejuvenate her son and give him something to look forward to, so she asked met with SOTX Greater Dallas Area program director Katy Williams and discussed what the Gresham family could do. Williams encouraged her to start a program and from there, the Sherman Shooting Stars were born.

 

Katie had the background to make this new venture successful. She was the volunteer program director for an area out of California for many years before. It was an adjustment for her to move to Texas-based rules, but the basics were nevertheless the same. She, with the support of her family worked hard to create something that so many are now proud to be a part of. They scheduled family meet and greets, connected with the local newspaper, built community partnerships and relationships and began fundraising.

 

 

In order to establish a delegation within their community, the family had a "meet and greet" at a local park to gauge the curiosity of interested athletes and to disseminate information to parents, caregivers and volunteers. Shortly after, 38 athletes showed up on the first day of Bowling training. Not to be overwhelmed, the family encouraged all volunteers to become Class A volunteers and coaches to become certified. This effort resulted in a very successful Bowling program, taking the 32 athletes to Area Games, where all medaled.

 

As the delegation continues to grow, Katie has had to seek funding through contacts within the community. This requires attending meetings of local organizations, delivering a speech and hoping for a good outcome; all on her personal time. Many of the contacts that Katie has established have proven to be beneficial to the delegation.  It is apparent the family's commitment to the athletes is what these individuals see is the reason they have been so supportive of the delegation and its' members.

 

None of what was accomplished by the Sherman Shooting Stars would have been possible without the Gresham family. Katie had the vision, she saw the need and advocated for it by becoming a certified coach and dedicating her time so that the athletes could have the time of their lives. Mike supported Katie every step of the way. He also became a certified coach and serves as a chaperone at their events. Together they helped create something that their son Paul looks forward to and is so proud of. Paul helps to encourage his family, provide athlete perspective and is a face of their delegation.

 

Outside of Special Olympics, Katie and Mike have created and encouraged an environment that every parent wants for their child. Paul holds a job at Kroger as a grocery sacker, he lives independently from his parents, and both his parents supported his marriage to fellow athlete Amber.

 

“This family lives the mission of Special Olympics,” Cooper said. “Their commitment to individuals with intellectual disabilities transcends the ‘norm’ of involvement for a specific cause; the development of a delegation that has been regarded as a ‘premier’ delegation in the span of only two-plus years. An achievement that has been accomplished through their dedication and faith.”

 

 

2015 SOTX Volunteer Award Honorees

 

Name

Award Category

City

Melinda Escamilla

Unified Sports Partner of the Year

Corpus Christ

Corpus Christi Police Department

Outstanding Volunteer for Fund Raising

Corpus Christi

Kayla Gray

Female Athlete of the Year: 15-21

Friendswood

Sally Stacy

Trainer of the Year

Graham

Rick Kohn

Volunteer of the Year

Greenville

Coca-Cola Refreshments of Houston

Outstanding Service from a Business/Corporation

Houston

Signa Segrest

Outstanding Service for Outreach

Houston

David Gonzalez

Outstanding Service from a Community Leader

Laredo

Rose Antony

Coach of the Year

Rockwall

Scott Wendt

Male Athlete of the Year: 22 and older

Rockwall

Riley Blatz

Male Athlete of the Year: 15-21

Round Rock

Teresa Sullivan

Outstanding Volunteer for Sports and Competition

San Antonio

UTSA: Alpha Sigma Alpha-Delta Upsilon Chapter

Outstanding Service from a Civic or Service Organization

San Antonio

Gresham Family

Family of the Year

Sherman

Kathryn Albertini

Female Athlete of the Year: 22 and older

Southlake

 

 

 

 

About Special Olympics Texas
Special Olympics Texas (SOTX) is a privately funded non-profit organization that changes lives through the power of sport by encouraging and empowering people with intellectual disabilities, promoting acceptance for all, and fostering communities of understanding and respect.  SOTX provides continuing opportunities for more than 53,400 children and adults with intellectual disabilities throughout the Lone Star State to realize their potential, develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage and experience joy and friendship.  To learn more, visit www.specialolympicstexas.org or call 800.876.5646.  Engage with us on: Twitter @SOTexasfb.com/SpecialOlympicsTXyoutube.com/specialolympicstexas. Visit the SOTX- Greater Dallas Area Facebook page at fb.com/SOTX10.

 

 

Co-Sponsors:
Coca-Cola Refreshments, Food Town, H-E-B Tournament of Champions,

Law Enforcement Torch Run, Sam’s Club and Walmart



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