This Sept. 11, the local Fayette County Special Olympics will raise money for their cause as well as honor local first responders with a Dime-A-Dog Night.
On a day of remembrance, the local unified three-time state champ Special Olympics softball team, the Fayette County Dragons, and the Washington Court House City Police and Fire team, the Guns-N-Hoses, will face off at Eyman Park. The game will be at 6 p.m. and there will be no charge for admission and hot dogs will cost 10 cents each the evening of the game.
“With our unified team, we have both athletes and partners play,” Tim Stewart, community first coordinator and Special Olympics coordinator, said. “Individuals with disabilities form the basis of the team and people without disabilities serve as partners. One of the partners on the team, his name is Caleb (McKinney), is also on the fire department. He plays on the Guns-N-Hoses team and thought it would be great. Apparently the fire department was really excited and all for it.”
McKinney said during an interview Friday that he is excited for the game. He said that in today’s reality, too often people forget that firefighters and police officers are just like everyone else.
“When you go to the Special Olympics events, they play five athletes that have disabilities and the partners are added in to give it an additional competitive edge,” McKinney said. “It is cool because the Special Olympics is such a great cause. They need more publicity because they just do not get enough. With the world the way it is today, me being a firefighter and I have cousins and friends who are cops, this is a great way to get those responders out into the community and show that not every cop and firefighter are bad people. Hopefully when they get out and see this, they will realize that they are people just like them, they just wear a badge sometimes.”
McKinney also reflected on the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center during the interview. He said that continues to have a strong importance, because even in town people were impacted. Whether their family were one of those firefighters or first responders, or even a service member who is currently deployed, he said that it changed the way people look at life.
“From a firefighter standpoint, just because we live in Washington Court House doesn’t mean it can’t happen here,” McKinney said. “With the world the way it is today, it is always hard to tell. The game will be a great cause and where else can you buy hot dogs for 10 cents and watch fun? The Special Olympics team is just great. I have been playing with them all year and they are pretty good. I know our Guns-N-Hoses team on Wednesday night, we are more of a circus than a softball team, but it is always pretty fun.”
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy