September 28, 2016 | Updated: January 29, 2019

By Heather Crabill

Special Olympics Texas (SOTX) officially announced the winners of its statewide 2016 Outstanding Service awards on Wednesday. Among the four honorees that received this award for different categories, KSAT-12 sports director Greg Simmons was recognized for Outstanding Service from a Community Leader. 

Simmons will be formally recognized at an awards ceremony on Friday, Oct. 14 in Bryan/College Station during the 2016 SOTX Fall Classic competition. He will be honored along with FC Dallas, the Houston Bar Association and San Antonio’s Gwenda Taggart, who also received Outstanding Service Awards from the non-profit organization.

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. 

“Because of the kinship between him and the athletes, he told his fellow sportscasters that Special Olympics was more important and someone else would have to go,” said Key Volunteers Evelyn and Bill Merrill. 

Simmons often says that he gets more out of supporting the athletes than they do of him doing his part. He has brought a certain kind of dignity to the Games and has great admiration for the athletes. After the Games are over, he stays to meet and take picture with all of the athletes. 

“He constantly encourages our athletes to do their best,” said Shawn Britt, SOTX San Antonio Area program director.  “He always reminds them how special they are. He doesn’t call them ‘athletes’, he calls them heroes.” 

Although Simmons is a leading sports director from the No. 1 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. 

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