SOTX Announces 2016 Outstanding Service Award Winners

FC Dallas, Houston Bar Association, KSAT-TV’s Greg Simmons and San Antonio resident Gwenda Taggart will be honored in Bryan/College Station on Oct. 14 at Fall Classic.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 28, 2016


AUSTIN – Special Olympics Texas (SOTX) officially announced the recipients of its annual statewide Outstanding Service Awards on Wednesday. Four winners were selected for different categories, including: FC Dallas for a Business/Corporation, Houston Bar Association for a Civic or Service Organization, KSAT 12 sports director Greg Simmons for a Community Leader and San Antonio resident Gwenda Taggart for Outreach. 

The recipients will be formally recognized at an awards ceremony on Friday, Oct. 14 in Bryan/College Station during the 2016 SOTX Fall Classic competition. 

FC Dallas, a Major League Soccer (MLS) organization, got involved with Special Olympics in 2013 when MLSWORKS formed a partnership with Special Olympics MLS WORKS is Major League Soccer's community outreach initiative dedicated to addressing important social issues and serves as a platform for both League and club philanthropic programs. MLS teams were challenged to promote Unified Sports and adopt a community-based team in their market. FC Dallas adopted the Spirit of Flower Mound delegation during the first two years of the partnership. In an effort to give all SOTX athletes in the Dallas area a chance to make the team, FC Dallas transitioned from adopting one particular team to hosting an open tryout for the previous two seasons In addition, professional soccer club contributes at least $15,000 a year to SOTX through in-kind donations. 

The Houston Bar Association (HBA) has been involved with SOTX since 1989 through their Special Olympics Committee. The committee is comprised of 32 HBA members that recruit other HBA members, friends and family members as volunteers, ensuring competitions and other SOTX events in the Houston area are fully staffed. For last year’s Giving Tuesday fundraiser, HBA participated in “Adopt a Special Olympics Team” and “adopted” the Reagan High School Special Olympics team. The funds that were donated were used by the team to purchase new uniforms. 

Over the last 13 years, Simmons has served as emcee host for SOTX’s San Antonio Area Spring Games. The Games are often held during the same time that the San Antonio Spurs are in the middle of a playoff run, making it one of the busiest times of the year for Simmons. He does whatever he can to make sure he is able to make it to the Spring Games, even if it means giving up a Spurs’ game. This year he was supposed to cover the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder playoff game in Oklahoma on the same day as the Spring Games, but because of his dedication to SOTX athletes, he shuffled his schedule and was able to get another reporter to cover the game, enabling him to attend the SOTX Spring Games instead. Although Simmons is a leading sports director from one of the top news station in the city, he always manages his busy schedule to make sure he is able to support SOTX athletes in every way he can. 

For the last 25 years, Taggart has been an avid supporter of SOTX. She got involved in order to help her son recover and find success after he was involved in an accident that resulted in a severe head injury. She has served on the State Outreach Committee and as the organization’s Outreach Support Services Fair Liaison at the last three statewide competitions. Throughout her involvement with SOTX, Taggart has brought in thousands of dollars to help fund athlete programs and initiatives. 

2016 Outstanding Service Awards 

Name

Category

City

 FC Dallas

Outstanding Service from a Business-Corporation

Dallas

 Houston Bar Association

Outstanding Service from a Civic or Service Organization

Houston

 Greg Simmons

Outstanding Service from a Community Leader

San Antonio

 Gwenda Taggart

Outstanding Service for Outreach

San Antonio


MEDIA CONTACT:
Steve Helm – Public Relations Coordinator, Special Olympics Texas
800.876.5646, ext. 2925 (office); 267.421.3911 (cell – media only); shelm@sotx.org