News>Hickam hosts Special Olympics Holiday Classic
A Hickam AFB volunteer helps a Special Olympics Hawaii athlete during the ceremonies. Many volunteers from Hickam AFB donated time to help make this event possible for more than 800 athletes.. Photo by Staff Sgt. Steven Drew
Lt. Col. Charles Moose, 15th Security Forces Squadron commander helps Adrian Cleintuar, Special Olympics athlete light the torch, symbolizing the beginning of the Special Olympics Hawaii Holiday Classic. The Nov. 20 event kicked off a weekend of games at Hickam AFB and Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay. Photo by Staff Sgt. Erin Smith.
by Staff Sgt. Erin Smith
15th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
12/4/2007 - HICKAM AIR FORCE BASE, Hawaii -- More than 800 athletes from around the islands flocked to Hangar 35, Nov. 30, to watch Adrian Cleintuar, Special Olympics Hawaii athlete, and Lt. Col. Charles Moose, 15th Security Forces Squadron commander light the torch, symbolizing the beginning of the Special Olympics Hawaii Holiday Classic.
This weekend of games is the culmination of the Fall Sports season for Special Olympics Hawaii. Athletes from Oahu, Kauai, Maui, Molokai and the Big Island compete for hundreds of medals and ribbons, according to Special Olympics Hawaii staff.
"The Special Olympics Holiday Classic went off great," said Master Sgt. Bradley Smith, 15th Contracting Squadron, project coordinator. "Everybody really came together and did their part to make this weekend very enjoyable for over 800 athletes"
The Holiday Classic has been hosted jointly by Hickam Air Force Base and Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay since 2002. Over the years, its sports have continued to increase in popularity and participation.
"More than 20 basketball teams and hundreds of bowlers and Bocce players train and compete from September through November to qualify for this event and around 800 athletes with intellectual disabilities compete in the Holiday Classic with the guidance of almost 250 coaches, the help of more than 1,000 volunteers," said Amanda Corby, Special Olympics Hawaii Marketing and Events Manager.
During the Holiday Classic the athletes also have the opportunity to enjoy many Special Events, such as Opening and Closing Ceremonies, Olympic Town, and the Victory Dance. Athletes and coaches are housed, fed, and transported by SOHI and the event hosts.
To make an event of this magnitude come together, help is required not only from volunteers, but also from an entire staff from Hickam AFB and Special Olympics Hawaii working together organizing the games.
"We started early in the planning process this year and it showed," said Sergeant Smith.