Special Olympics Athlete and longtime volunteer honored in Springfield

Winning a gold medal at USA Games while representing your state and city is cool. But being recognized in your city with an official proclamation comes in at a close second.

Longtime Volunteer Bill Mahoney and athlete Rachel Wheeler of Springfield were honored Monday, August 20 at Springfield City Hall for their involvement over the years and exemplification of the spirit of the Special Olympics movement.

Bill was recognized with an official proclamation for over 20 years of committed volunteering for Special Olympics Massachusetts. Bill first became involved with Special Olympics as a volunteer with track and field at Springfield College. He has since become a crucial member of the management team for track events and trains volunteers at annual Western Massachusetts fundraising events including Trick or Trot and Jolly Jaunt. Bill’s dedication to Special Olympics has inspired his family and friends to get involved, and their time and effort ensures the success of May Games each year.

Rachel began competing with Special Olympics Massachusetts at the age of 8 when she met Coach Mary Beth O’Neil who encouraged her to be brave and gave her the opportunity to succeed athletically and socially. Rachel has competed in bocce, bowling, skating, soccer and track, and most recently represented Massachusetts at the Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle where she earned a gold medal in the 200m dash. Through Special Olympics, Rachel has developed lifelong friendships and is showing the world that she is capable of anything she puts her mind to, including speaking on behalf of Special Olympics Massachusetts at events such as SWEAT Power Yoga’s Sunday Service class

A special thank you goes out to Springfield City Councilors Kateri Walsh and Jesse Lederman for making this all possible!


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