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Save the date for this educational, action-packed conference that will lead directly into the Special Olympics Texas (SOTX) Opening Ceremonies at Winter Games. Special guests, life-changing sessions and so much more await attendees at this conference as we learn and inspire each other to have an even bigger impact on Special Olympics Texas athletes. Connect with all of the SOTX community including Unified Champion Schools, sponsors, and LETR in Bee Cave and Lakeway, TX.
Colby is a 35 year old Special Olympic Athlete who works at the North Richland Hills Recreation Center and served on the Board of Directors for Special Olympics Texas for 6 years. He also serves on numerous committees through ALPS and LETR Fundraising Events. He won the International Law Enforcement Torch Run Council Athlete Award in 2018. Earning his Eagle Scout at 16 years old is one of his proudest moments. Special Olympics selected him to compete in Athens Greece for the World Games in the sport of Gymnastics where he brought home a Gold, 2 Silver and 2 Bronze Medals. He also represented Texas at the National Games in New Jersey in Powerlifting where he brought home a Silver and 3 Bronze medals. Colby along with his family won Family of the Year and he has been awarded Athlete of the Year as well. As a Global Messenger he travels the nation and gives over 30 speeches a year.
Randy married his High School sweetheart over 36 years ago. They have two amazing children Colby and Malyn. Randy retired from Tarrant County after 31 years in Law Enforcement. He served as a Lieutenant for 12 years, but also worked in Narcotics, Judicial Services and Confinement. Randy and his wife volunteered for their first Special Olympics Games when Colby was 6 months old and they have been involved in every aspect of it. Randy has served as the Texas LETR Assistant Director for the past 10+ years. He held the first Polar Plunge in Texas which has now grown to 15+ year throughout the state. The Bannister Family serves as volunteers, they coach their own team, they serve on committees, they host fundraisers and are LETR members. Randy was honored when selected to Coach Team Texas in Powerlifting in New Jersey and Seattle for the National Games. He enjoys hunting, traveling and being with his family.
Rhonda has been married to her high school sweetheart, Randy for 36 years. They have two beautiful children, Colby who has been blessed with the gift of Down Syndrome and Malyn, a 6th grade Language Arts Teacher, with her degree in Special Education. She retired from Tarrant County after 33 years as a Police Officer, Hostage/Crisis Negotiator, Defensive Tactics Instructor and Chaplin's Family Assistance Officer. Her family has been very involved in Special Olympics for the past 30 years. She and her husband won the International Law Enforcement Torch Run John Carion Unsung Hero Award of which they are extremely honored to be the only recipients from Texas. She and her family have also won the Texas Special Olympics Family of the Year and Fundraisers of the Year. Combining their passion for empowering individuals with intellectual disabilities and pageants they created the Miss Sweetheart Special Needs Pageant which has donated over $60,000 to Special Olympics over the past 9 years . She enjoys crafting, traveling and spending time with her family.
"In 2015 a representative from Special Olympics Texas came to an Officer’s Association meeting to provide information about LETR and the opportunities to volunteer with Special Olympics. My family and I volunteered at our first SOTX event, a basketball tournament in Bronte, shortly thereafter. The biggest impact that the Special Olympics has had is it has allowed me to make a positive impact within our community when it comes to Special Olympics and Law Enforcement. I teach a class at the law enforcement academies where I help cadets learn how to communicate with someone with special needs. I also get the assistance from some of the Special Olympic Athletes in our region who conduct several scenarios for the cadets. I feel this is beneficial for the cadets and it also allows the athletes to become familiar with their local law enforcement."
Prior to retiring, Pete Carey was group vice president at Toyota Financial Services (TFS), and president of Mazda Financial Services (MFS) overseeing all aspects of TFS’ private label business and the relationship with Mazda Motor of America, Inc. Carey was tasked with setting up the newly created Bass Pro Shops Financial Services (BPSFS) organization which will provide financing for boats and all-terrain vehicles. Prior to his role, Carey was group vice president of the TFS service operations department and chairman of the board of directors of Toyota Financial Savings Bank (TFSB). In that capacity, Carey oversaw a wide range of customer and dealer service functions including TFS’ three customer service centers and the company’s industrial loan-chartered bank operation. His responsibilities were focused on further enhancing TFS’ efficiency while ensuring the company meets the evolving needs of its customers. Carey’s accomplishments include maximizing acquisitions and building relationships with key stakeholders including Toyota and Lexus dealer and division partners while serving as vice president of sales. Under his leadership as corporate manager of commercial finance, that area of TFS delivered a $100 million year-over-year turnaround in 2011.Carey began his career at TFS in 1993 and has since held key positions in a variety of areas within TFS and across the country. His broad experience at TFS includes dealer credit, collections, customer service center development, and field services management.
Carey holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Marist College, Poughkeepsie, New York.
Yvette Zamora Chacon is a lifelong Texas resident. She is a wife to Joseph, a mother to three wonderful daughters and has 2 grandchildren. Her youngest, 19 year old Elena has Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD). Yvette has lived in central Texas since 1998 and has been involved in the Special Needs community for most of that time. She volunteers with Special Olympics Texas, Unified Champions as a parent liaison and with United Partners (UP). UP is a program in Pflugerville Tx dedicated to developing life skills for adult individuals with Special Needs, creating items that are sold in the UP Store in downtown Pflugerville.
Bruce Clarke is the Athlete Engagement Manager with Special Olympics Texas where he has worked for 3 years. Prior to moving to Austin Bruce worked with Special Olympics Arizona for 6 ½ years in the same role. Bruce started out as an intern with SOAZ after graduating from Northern Arizona University and was hired on as an employee after his internship. Bruce is in charge of all the Athlete Leadership initiatives with Special Olympics Texas including overseeing the Executive Committee of Athlete Leaders that meet once a month via conference call and also plans the Global Messenger Training and is working on starting up an Employment Training for athletes to get trained on Resume Writing , Interview Skills, Professional Behavior in the Workplace.
In April Bruce moved to San Antonio and is now working for SOTX in our San Antonio office in his same position.
"Special Olympics and Unified Sports have had a profound impact on my life. I feel more connected to my school and feel like I can genuinely make a difference for a generation of leaders and athletes. Wanted to make a bigger impact on my community, I researched ways to expand and came across the information for Unified Sports through Special Olympics."
Michael Davila is the PR Marketing manager for Bubbas33. He has been with this company for around 7 years and grew up in Friona. Upon graduation, Michael went to school at Texas Tech and then transferred and moved to Dekalb, IL. He then moved back to the area in 2002 and is married to Bryan Hutchinson and also married to Bubba's 33. He began working with Special Olympics and Jnette Thorne in 2016 with dine and donates to help raise funds for this great organization. With the great partnership he has developed with her, they have spread the word to most of our stores where they are helping raise money for their local chapters.
"My first involvement was when I volunteered to help the Life Skills teacher at my high school as he prepared my peers for the Area track meet. After attending the meet, I knew one day I would be much more involved, hopefully with my own team. In 2014, I was hired to be a Life Skills teacher and immediately knew that was my chance to start a team. I created a delegation, got certified and started competing my first year in that position. I have since moved and established my new campus as a UCS campus. It is hard to put into words the impact my involvement with Special Olympics has had on my life. There were holes in my heart and life that I never knew existed are now overflowing. I have had the honor to meet some of the most incredible people I know, inspire my students of all abilities and provide them with experiences they’ve never had before. I love that I am able to help give them a better quality of life and a chance to display their many talents and capabilities. In turn, my heart remains full of pride when I see how much my athletes flourish and the new doors that are opened to them. They bless my life every single day and I advocate every chance I get, to anyone who will listen, for them to be seen for who they are: incredibly capable human beings with goals and purpose on a special mission from God."
Robert “Beau” Doherty is President of Special Olympics Connecticut and has served the organization in many roles for 40 years.
Beau began his career at the former Paul A. Dever State School in Taunton, Massachusetts, where he witnessed institutional life firsthand. He became the first Recreation Director for the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) in the Massachusetts community in 1979. It was during his time at DDS that he was asked to work for Special Olympics Massachusetts as the Training Director one day a week and he joined the staff, full-time, in 1982. Beau organized the first Unified softball tournament, with the approval of Eunice Kennedy Shriver and the Massachusetts Board of Directors, in 1983. He is best-known in the Special Olympics community for his work with Eunice Kennedy Shriver and the Unified Sports program he developed - which became official in 1989 - and is warmly known as the “Godfather” of Unified Sports by his peers, friends and associates in Connecticut and worldwide.
Beau became CEO of Special Olympics Connecticut in 1993 and, during his tenure, hosted the 1995 Special Olympics World Games and the International Law Enforcement Torch Run Conference. He also chaired the North American Leadership Council and co-chaired the Indigenous Peoples Initiative. Beau is most proud of his efforts to grow and support the Special Olympics program in Jordan and St. Kitts & Nevis. He attributes much of the success of Special Olympics in Connecticut to Law Enforcement’s role in fundraising, volunteering and promoting awareness.
"Special Olympic athletes are not people with disabilities, they are people with Abilities. Anything in life can be accomplished with the right mindset and determination. They inspire me to always be better no matter what challenges I might face. Some of my work with Special Olympics include attending the 2022 National LETR Conference where I participated with opening ceremonies, Guardian of the Flame, and the LETR run."
Greg Epperson oversees program operations in 23 countries in North America, the Caribbean and northern South America providing strategic direction and engagement with the public and private sector to raise awareness and gain support. He also leads fundraising efforts for the region.
Greg has been involved with Special Olympics since 1986. Beginning as a volunteer coach, he has served as Training Director for a local Special Olympics program in North Carolina, Director of Sports Management for Special Olympics Delaware and Vice President of Sports for the 1999 Special Olympics World Games. In October 1999, Greg accepted a position with Special Olympics International and most recently served as the Vice President, Sports and Business Operations for North America.
Greg is a graduate of East Carolina University with a degree in Physical Education and Therapeutic Recreation.
Chairof several different committees including Match, Bid Day, Mr. Bobcat Pageant, Friday Night Lights and New Member Educator executive committees. Through these positions, I usedmy time management skills, learned to supervise and delegate to over 200 women, planned events for the chapter, and increased organization attendance to the events.Nominated for the Grace Mason Lundy Award - a national award dedicated to one member who throughout their college years has given greatest evidence of loyalty, devotion, and service to their chapter.
Jaclyn Garcia is currently the Regional Marketing Manager for Orangetheory Fitness North Texas. Her energetic personality and marketing background prepared her for the work she does creating and coordinating promotions, partnerships with local non-profits such as Special Olympics Texas and American Heart Association, and overseeing social media and communications. She enjoys the people she works with and their goal to better others’ lives by providing the best fitness product out there.
Officer Chance Graves started his law enforcement career, 16 years ago, with the Allen Police Department. Chance and his beautiful wife, Sara, have two boys, Ryder (10) and River (6). Chance has been a part of Special Olympics for the past 7 years and serves on the Law Enforcement Torch Run Texas State Board, representing the North Region. Chance believes that you will always get more out of Special Olympics than you put in it!
"A parent of an athlete (Marie Lowman) recognized the shared mission between my company and Special Olympics to improve inclusivity in healthcare for athletes. I have since worked with the Healthy Athletes team to empower athletes to find the follow-up care they need and educate clinicians on providing skilled and compassionate care for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. I get the chills as I watch the beautiful energy of great people doing great things to build inclusivity in healthcare. Everytime I interact with the athletes and the Special Olympics team I feel as though the stars have aligned to use Branchly for exactly the community that I wanted to use it."
Gary is an experienced athlete, having participated in Special Olympics events since he was 10 years old. Gary has competed in a wide range of sports including basketball, soccer, volleyball, flag football, track and field, bowling, and gymnastics. He currently serves as the President of the Athlete Leadership Committee for the El Paso area, where he provides guidance to the Committee and works to plan events throughout the year. Gary was the Athlete of the Year in 2010 and is a fantastic leader both in the Special Olympics community as well as the greater El Paso community. He is also a member of the El Paso Knights of Columbus.
Antonio Hernandez is a Lieutenant in the patrol division of Harris County Constable’s Precinct One. During his 25-plus years of tenure, he has proudly served the Constable’s office in aiding the citizens of Harris County. He is truly an amazing leader and mentor for those he serves as well as those he provides performance development to. He strives to lead by example both personally and professionally. He is a devoted husband and father of three children: Brittany, Emily, and Vicente. He loves spending time with his family and completing in marathons and ultra-marathons. Through hard work and dedication, he has obtained both his undergraduate degree and Master of Science in Criminal Justice from the University of Houston-Downtown. Addition to being a Lieutenant for Harris County Precinct One, he also serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Houston – Downtown focusing on criminal justice. He became involved with Special Olympics in the summer of 2021. He champions the Harris County Precinct One’s Special Olympics efforts by participating in the Law Enforcement Torch Run and numerous fundraising events. Antonio has a personal connection and motivation for the Special Olympics’ organization as his young son Vicente has an intellectual disability. His deep appreciation of the organization’s philosophy of inspiring the power of athletics, people with intellectual disabilities discover new strengths and abilities, skills, and personal achievement
Blake Hiett was born and raised in Aledo, TX, just 15 minutes west of Fort Worth. Blake graduated from Texas Tech’s Rawls College of Business in 2014 with degrees in Business Management and Sports Marketing.
For the past 5 years, Blake has worked as Assistant Vice President of Retirement and Private Wealth for HUB International (formerly GUS BATES Insurance & Investments) where he specializes in providing a broad range of comprehensive retirement plan options that help give businesses and their employees a sense of confidence about their financial future. He provides fiduciary consulting and oversight, employee education and day-to-day assistance with administering retirement plans – 401(K), 403(b), 457(b), 401(a), Cash Balance Plans, etc.
Blake is an active member on the Regional Resource Board for Special Olympics Texas where he is passionate about volunteering with the athletes and fundraising for the organization. Outside of work, Blake enjoys playing golf, hunting, fishing, spending time at the lake with his wife Leah & dog Charlie, and listening to live music.
Lieutenant Jason James has been a member of the Bryan Police Department for over 24 years and has been highly involved in the community. Lt. James helps out many organizations throughout the area to help promote their mission to serve special needs individuals. Lt James is an active volunteer for Special Olympics Texas and the Law Enforcement Torch Run for over 20 years. Lt. James has lead the Bryan College Station Tip-a-Cop since 2009 which has raised over $350,000 for Special Olympics. Lt. James is a 2014 Jefferson Award winner for his volunteerism in Bryan/College Station area.
Jason has been married to his wife Mandie for over 13 years and has two sons, Hudson who is 11 and Hamilton who is 8.
Few people can boast of Special Olympics "roots" that go back to the Special Olympics' inception; however, Shirley attended the first Special Olympic World Games held in Chicago, Illinois, on July 20, 1968. She was present with 4 athletes from the Philadelphia area, that marched onto Soldier Field in Chicago for the first Special Olympics World Games on this very special day. Today, she leads her own delegation- Best Friends. She has coached in Special Olympics for 5 years. Shirley Johnson has devoted her life to ensuring that people with intellectual disabilities are provided, not denied, opportunities. She coaches more than 300 athletes in Athletics, Basketball, Bowling, Bocce, Ice Skating, Floorball and Softball. She refuses to say not to anyone who wants to join Best Friends. "Everyone is welcomed", she says. In addition to her commitments of time and talent as the Head Coach of Best Friends; she also volunteers on Special Olympic Games Committees, The Torch Run Committee, and The Area 20 Resource Board.
Jordan Kemere is an internal medicine physician and assistant professor at Baylor College of Medicine where she provides primary care to adults with Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities (IDD). She is also the program director of the Adult Developmental Medicine Fellowship and passionately educates many healthcare professional learners in providing high quality healthcare to people with IDD. Dr. Kemere also works closely with partners at Texas Children’s Hospital to improve transition from pediatric to adult healthcare. She is a clinical director for MedFest and loves watching her patients compete in Special Olympics!
Tom Kilgore is the mayor of the city of Lakeway, Texas, the host of the State Leadership Conference and Winter Games 2023. Mayor Kilgore and the city of Lakeway are committed to their partnership to Special Olympics Texas and have made Lakeway the home of Winter Games for years and for years to come.
Mrs. King grew up in Texas and graduated from Texas A&M University in 1998 with a degree in Biomedical Science. Mayor King believes in balancing growth with the needs and quality of life of our community, while being respectful of the community’s heritage. Bee Cave is a one of a kind community and its position as the “Gateway to the Hill Country” needs to be protected and nurtured. The Mayor and her husband, Ben, met at A&M and moved around the first 8 years of their marriage while he was a pilot in the Marine Corps. They have 3 children: Wes (22), Brannon (17), and Tierney (16), and taking an active role in shaping the community where they grow up is something she passionately believes in. She loves history, traveling, cooking, cheering on her kids in their activities, and Aggie football!
"The Winter Games came to Lakeway/Bee Cave and I got involved in supporting the games at that time. My most direct experience with Special Olympics has come within the last year, but it has been meaningful. I enjoyed watching the athletes compete at the Winter games and had a great time partnering with an athlete at last year’s Tip-a-Cop event. "
Angelos Lambis is the Director of Fuel & Convenience for United Express, part of the United Supermarkets family of stores, a 107-year-old neighborhood grocery chain with nearly 100 locations throughout Texas and New Mexico. In his role, he oversees convenience operations, working with store teams to create the best Guest shopping experience by delivering Ultimate Service, displaying Superior Performance, and making a Positive Impact every day.
As part of the Lubbock Advisory Board, Angelos and United Express have been actively involved with the Special Olympics for the past 8 years, raising nearly $100,000 thru Torch sales and donations, as well as providing hundreds of team member volunteer hours to assist at various athletic events, including Dances, Basketball and Spring Games.
"I began my career with the Ector County Sheriff’s Office in 1993. A fellow Deputy introduced me to Special Olympics in 2012 and I have been hooked since. I have made every Law Enforcement Torch Run to the Ceremonies up until COVID when all of the activities were suspended."
For Marie, being able to support others so that they feel seen, understood and supported is the most important thing she could do. At the end of the day, her goal is very simply to inspire others to become leaders, supporting others so that they may find purpose is foundational to inspiring each person to be the very best version of themselves. Marie has been working for the worlds largest privately held analytics firm for 28 years, SAS. SAS was the official analytics partner for the Special Olympics World Games in Dubai. She has served three terms on the Bee Cave City Council and in 2018 stepped down to focus on her wonderful philanthropic work.She is the parent to a Special Olympics athlete who is by far the greatest gift she has ever been given. Reagan and Marie starred in a CBS docuseries entitlted “That Animal Rescue Show” which is all about how animals rescue humans, they are featured in the horse episode.
Susanne Brady-Lusk is the Vice President and General Manager of the South Market Unit for Arca Continental Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages. She manages more than half of the business for Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages, including 13 facilities and 3,500 associates. Susanne is a champion for Inclusion & Diversity is committed to promoting diversity throughout Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages and the Community. Susanne is involved with the Network of Executive Women, Executive Women’s Partnership of Houston, and is the Chairwoman for Special Olympics Texas. She also enjoys spending time with her family. She and her wife Rhonda live in Houston with their two dogs, Bentley and Beamer.
Renee has been a Special Olympics athlete for 15 years. She participates in softball, swimming, soccer, basketball, and track & field. She is also a Health Messenger, Sargent Shriver International Global Messenger, Toastmaster, singer & paid consultant for Special Olympics International. Renee is on the Autism spectrum & has learning disabilities, but she hopes you will see past her disabilities to her abilities. She has learned she has a voice & is passionate about telling her story in hopes of encouraging others who might be experiencing the same thing she experienced: loneliness, bullying, & feeling powerless. She believes in the power of being heard & that when ALL of our voices are heard we have the framework for an inclusive world. Her love is Disney & Star Wars. “May the Force be with us all”.
Tim Martin became the President & CEO of Special Olympics Texas in 2018. Prior to this appointment, Tim served as President and CEO of Special Olympics Arizona for 9 years. As the CEO of Special Olympics Programs, he established partnerships with both the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) and the University Interscholastic League (UIL) in Texas. He currently serves as the Chair of the Global Unified Sports Advisory Group (GUSAG) for Special Olympics International and previously chaired the Unified Sports Leadership Council (USLC) for Special Olympics North America. Tim has over 25 years of experience in non-profit, adaptive needs, and sports program management. Tim has a passion and energy for Special Olympics and he is proud to serve the amazing athletes, volunteers, and families across the globe.
Nicole Mayberry was born and raised in Littleton, Colorado but likes to call herself a “half-native” Texan after moving to Dallas to attend Southern Methodist University. She graduated from SMU in 2010 with degrees in Journalism, Advertising, Sport Management, and Business, as well as master’s degrees in Human Rights & Social Justice and Media, Communication & Technology. For the past two years, Nicole has worked on the Partnerships Team at Topgolf where she manages the brand’s automobile, technology and healthcare partners. She also works within the company’s Driving for Good program and assists with a handful of the charitable organizations the company partners with, including Special Olympics. Outside of work, Nicole likes to beat her husband at golf, ski and snowboard with her family in Breckenridge, and race her friends on the Peloton leaderboard.
Presently serving 6th term on Board of Directors, having served as Parliamentarian, Vice-Chairman, and Chairman. Also served as Key Volunteer, Coach, and Games Official at the local, state, and national levels. Additionally elected to the USLC (United States Leadership Council) and appointed to serve on several committees including the Sports Committee as Chairman. Through his involvement, his wife and son have become volunteers as well. Devoted career to Special Education as Teacher and Administrator. Retired after 38 years of service
"At the time that I committed to be the Advisor, I had no idea the impact this program would have not only on me, but my leaders, our families, and our overall school environment. I was influenced at the Pflugerville Conferences to prove that 10 year old can make great leaders in the inclusion revolution and since then Lone Star has fast tracked to becoming such a successful program. My proudest moments come when student leaders are given a voice to make choices for their school - given opportunities to shine - recognized as an influential leader that they would have never gotten if not for this program."
"Our Young Professionals Board (YPB) is a coalition of enthusiastic young professionals (under 40) in Texas who seek to inspire radical inclusion through fundraising, advocacy, and volunteer involvement. The YPB is tasked with raising the visibility of the organization and building new programs through fundraising."
Thomas Parks, a 20-year-old celebrated athlete who is currently training for the 2022 Special Olympics representing TEAM TEXAS in Track and Field. The first-ever player turned coach of Miracle League Arlington whose moniker is Thomas ``Out of the Park" Parks because that is exactly where all his hits go. An Alumni of Project Search at Texas Wesleyan, Thomas showed his exceptional ability to thrive working in various departments of the University. Thomas finished up the year by giving the Commencement Address to his fellow Project Search graduates. His sense of community includes extending invitations to all the events he takes part in Basketball, Baseball, Track, Football and even playing Santa reading Twas the Night Before Christmas to underprivileged children that are served by his mother's organization. Thomas, a multi talented musician that plays the keyboard, guitar, and bongos is currently writing songs in his downtime. He eagerly awaits the college football season where he can attend games and watch his brother play football at the University of Mary Hardin Baylor.
Michele Playdon is a Coldwell Banker Realty real estate agent serving Southlake, TX and the surrounding areas.As a top-producing agent, Michele can be described as assertive, efficient and personable. This combination of qualities ensures every client experiences a stress-free and successful transaction, while developing a lifelong friendship along the way.
With a proven track record in markets from luxury homes to investment properties, Michele offers extensive knowledge of the current market that is necessary to successfully navigate her clients through the buying and selling process. Michele prides herself in her around the clock availability, so clients know they have a reliable agent who is with them even after they've left the closing table.
"I feel extremely rewarded when we are able to spend time with the Special Olympic Athletes at the Summer games. Witnessing the pride and hard work of each athlete makes our hard work throughout the year worth it. This past year I was named the LETR Coordinator for our Department. I take great pride in working alongside my fellow team members to ensure that the program is successful"
Honored to serve as the Chief of Police for the City of Grand Prairie, a Texas Police Chiefs Association Best Practices Accredited agency operating under Chapter 143 of the Texas Local Government Code. Extensive experience in all aspects of modern municipal law enforcement including patrol, special operations, criminal investigations, community-oriented policing, and support functions with a focus on community-based crime prevention and crime reduction strategies and partnerships Currently serving on the Texas Police Chiefs Legislative Committee and Board of Directors for Children First Counseling Center. Chief Scesney holds a Master of Science degree in Criminology from Texas Christian University and is an Adjunct Professor in TCU's Leadership, Management, and executive Development Program. Chief Scesney is a proud veteran of the United States Marine.
After seeing a need for more opportunities for students with disabilities in her district, Monetta Smith became involved with SOTX in 2016. She has always had a passion for the students with whom she worked with, but the opportunities and accomplishments they have gained through Special Olympics have given her a deeper understanding of not only their lives but the lives of their families. Her delegation has truly become one big family, and they are bringing more into the family (both with and without disabilities) every day!
Originally from Minneapolis, MN, Kyle got involved in Special Olympics through his high school Unified club. He continued his involvement with the Student Board of Directors for Special Olympics Minnesota, and was fortunate enough to be a part of a Unified Champion School, where Kyle was able to see the Unified movement have such a positive impact on everyone. Coming down to Texas, he wanted to continue his involvement in Special Olympics. With that, he is super excited to be a coach of our TCU Unified Basketball team attending the USA Games in Orlando this year, and can’t wait to represent Team Texas on a national stage.
Tony is an Area 11 Special Olympics Texas athlete and has competed for 24 years. He began participating in Special Olympics while attending Colleyville Heritage High School. Following graduation he became a part of the HEB Special Friend delegation and the Smooth Swing Golf team. He is a member of the Athlete Leadership Program and a SOTX Global Messenger for Special Olympics Texas. Tony was awarded the 2002 Area 11 Male Athlete of the Year and in 2016 he and his family was recognized as the Family of the Year. Tony is also a member of the Knights of Columbus and due to his volunteer efforts in 2018 was presented the Chic O’Conner award. Besides his love of competition in many sports, one of his favorite past times is playing the piano.
Jonathan Winters has worked in Recreation, Sports, and Fitness industry for going on 18 years. He is currently the Corporate Recreation Manager for the City of Richardson Parks and Recreation Department and has recently helped them revitalize the Richardson Corporate Challenge program after the 2020 shutdown. The program is now entering its 25th year and just surpassed $3mil raised for Special Olympics Texas. As part of revitalizing process, Jonathan has worked hard to create a program that continuously draws new businesses and finds innovative ways to engage its participants. He resides in Frisco, Texas with his wife Sarah, daughter Addison, and their dog Peyton.
"It has been life-changing being a part of Special Olympics! It has allowed me to combine my love of this population and my love of sports. Through this organization, I have had the wonderful opportunity to coach some of the most amazing individuals on the planet, have built meaningful relationships with athletes, families, coaches, volunteers and SOTX staff and it has given me opportunities to grow at the Area, Regional, State, National and International levels.I was exposed to this amazing organization when I volunteered at an Area track meet at the age of 12. All it took was one event and I was hooked."