Photo Information

Lyle Mclan, a Special Olympics athlete, competes in the crowd favorite, the Turkey Bowl, during the commissary’s 8th annual Special Olympics at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., Jan. 12, 2015. Dozens of volunteers cheered as more than 50 athletes competed in the games to win various prizes.

Photo by Cpl. Grace L. Waladkewics

Cherry Point hosts 8th annual Special Olympics

13 Jan 2015 | Cpl. Grace L. Waladkewics 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing

Marines, Sailors and civilians cheered as more than 50 athletes competed in the Cherry Point Commissary’s 8th annual Special Olympics at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., Jan. 12.

Dozens of enthusiastic volunteers cheered for the Olympians who competed in a variety of games and events featuring items found at the local commissary, including frozen turkeys, tissue boxes and cookies, said Maureen Burnetsky, standing store director for the commissary.

Each of the athletes selected a volunteer as their teammate for the competition. The volunteers supported the athletes and competed alongside them in the events.

“Having the volunteers here boosts the morale of the athletes and they really enjoy having someone they look up to cheering them on,” said Burnetsky. “The service members also get a lot out of the experience. They really get to know their athlete and experience the excitement of the games with them.”

The volunteers were excited when they heard of the opportunity to help with the games and they enjoyed spending the day with their athlete.

“I have always loved volunteering with the Special Olympics,” said Lance Cpl. Tevin Thomas, a gunner with 2nd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion. “My awesome prior experiences with Special Olympics and the athletes are what really drove me to want to continue volunteering through this event.”

According to the commissary staff, the event would not be possible without the help of the many volunteers.

“In my opinion, the event was a complete success and everyone left a winner,” said Thomas. “It was inspiring to see all the athletes cheering their teammates and competitors on and backing each other up. I can’t wait to participate again next year.”