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Salute to Special Olympics at the Big E

The last day of The Big E for 2018 was filled with 400 smiling faces on Salute to Special Olympics Day. Salute to Special Olympics Day is traditionally the last day of the 17-day fair and includes the awarding of the Don Dowd Award, bocce and cheerleading demonstrations and the daily parade.

Salute to Special Olympics Day 2018 on September 30 began with the opening ceremony emceed by Miss of Massachusetts, Alyssa Hammond, with remarks from Greg Chiecko of The Big E.

Board Member Frank Quigley announced this year’s recipient of the Don Dowd Award, longtime coach John Ford from the Greater Springfield Program. Coach Mary Beth O’Neil and athlete Carl accepted the award on John’s behalf. John is a veteran Special Olympics coach for soccer and volleyball, and was inducted into the Special Olympics Hall of Fame in 2006. He also attended the 2006 USA Games in Iowa as a volleyball coach.

Athletes from Greater Springfield, Hampshire Heat, MASS, South High, Berkshires, HCS, West Side, Westfield and Whitney Academy spent the day at the fair, eating the food and seeing the exhibits. At 1 p.m., athletes gathered at the Storrowtown Village Green to play Unified Bocce, and the West Springfield Cheerleading team demonstrated a cheer and dance for fair-goers.

At 5 p.m. the hundreds athletes, coaches, family members and volunteers marched in the parade, waving and smiling to the crowd, and being great representatives of Special Olympics Massachusetts!

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