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Friday, October 20, 2017

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DENTON COUNTY RESIDENTS HONORED WITH ANNUAL SPECIAL OLYMPICS TEXAS AWARDS
Special Olympics Texas

October, 2016

Special Olympics Texas (SOTX) officially announced the winners of its statewide 2016 Volunteer Awards on Thursday afternoon. Among the five recipients of these awards, three hail from Denton County. Lewisville’s Renae Carswell has been honored as the nonprofit organization’s Volunteer of the Year, while Jim Domer(Lewisville) has been named the Unified Partner of the Year. Picking up the Family of the Year honor is Carrollton’s RobLoriRyan and Kyle Mehnert.

 

Domer, Carswell and the Mehnert family will be formally recognized at an awards ceremony on Friday, Oct. 14 in Bryan/College Station during the 2016 SOTX Fall Classic competition, along with Saint Jo’s Laurie Martin (Trainer of the Year) and Sgt. Jason James (Outstanding Volunteer for Fundraising).

 

 

Carswell has been involved with SOTX since 1993 when her son joined the program. Since then she has been a coach, chaperone, banquet chair, fundraiser, secretary and more. She works tirelessly to make sure that all of the athletes, parents, coaches and volunteers are fully informed with everything they need to know. She is also certified to coach eight sports and coordinates three state games every year.

 

“Renae is so much more than a Special Olympics parent, coach and volunteer,” said Margo Dunaj, Lewisville ISD Special Olympics aquatics coach. “She is that go-to person who is always there to step up and do the job that no one else will do— pick up the athlete who needs a ride, make arrangements for a trip, and do anything and everything that needs to be done.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Domer, the 2009 statewide Volunteer of the Year, has been devoting his time to SOTX for more than 30 years. Among his many roles over the years, he has served as Head of Delegation for Lewisville ISD SpecialOlympics, where he has been a certified coach of nine sports, a Unified Partner and has aided in securing facilities for practices. He became a Unified Partner when the softball team that he was coaching did not have enough players to play. He formed a team with parents and friends, but still needing an extra player, decided to play as well. 

 

“Coach Domer always puts our athletes’ interest first and makes sure that they have a fair and fun experience when competing in out delegation,” said Renae Carswell. “If not for his love of the athletes and perseverance, we would not have a softball team today.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Mehnert family’s journey with SOTX began when the Carrollton-Farmers Branch school district started its program. Parents Rob and Lori are extremely involved with SOTX. They participate as coaches, Unified Partners and volunteer with outreach and fundraising efforts. Their son Kyle is also a SOTX volunteer. He has volunteered at competitions and has assisted with practices and fundraisers.

 

“They are totally committed to Special Olympics and do not hesitate to step up to whatever is asked of them,” said Julia Scott, a SOTX volunteer. “They never miss an event or practice and are involved with all of our sports. If they are not actively coaching, they are helping in some way.”

 

Ryan, who passed away in June, was involved with SOTX since 1999, first with the Carrollton/Farmers Branch ISD All-Stars and then with the Carrollton/Farmers Branch (CFB) Cyclones. Over those 17 years, he competed in Aquatics, Athletics, Basketball and Bowling. In 2015, Ryan set a national milestone, as he was the first Special Olympics athlete in the United States to register for the Unified Relay Across America, a humanitarian event that featured people from across the U.S. running and passing a lit torch from the East Coast all the way to Los Angeles, which was the site of the 2015 Special Olympics World Games.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2016 Special Olympics Texas Volunteer Awards

Name

Category

City

 

Mehnert Family

Family of the Year

Carrollton

Jim Domer

Unified Sports Partner of the Year

Lewisville

Renae Carswell

Volunteer of the Year

Lewisville

Sgt. Jason James

Outstanding Volunteer for Fund Raising

Bryan

Laurie Martin

Trainer of the Year

Saint Jo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 55,200 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.

 

 

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