Champion Volunteers Honored at Area 7 Games

Congratulations to the 275 Special Olympics Florida athletes and 20 Unified partners who competed early this month at the Area 7 Summer Games in Collier County. The competition featured five different sports – cycling, cheerleading, track and field, soccer, and bocce – and some very special guests.

The Konopik family of Collier County, Pam Fazio of Manatee County, and Nancy “Eric” Erickson were recognized for their years of service to Special Olympics Florida. The Konopiks were honored as Family of the Year, Fazio received the Bill Crutchfield Leadership Award, and Erickson received the Special Olympics North America Lifetime Achievement Award for four decades of coaching and volunteering in almost every role possible.

The Family of the Year Award recognizes the family who makes a unique and lasting contribution to the lives of people with intellectual disabilities through their involvement with Special Olympics Florida. The Bill Crutchfield Award is presented to the volunteer who has demonstrated distinguished service at the Area level and made a positive impact on the lives of people with and without intellectual disabilities. The Lifetime Achievement Award is a national honor recognizing distinguished coaches for their contributions to athletes, their program, and the Special Olympics movement.

“These award winners truly embody the mission of Special Olympics Florida,” said Special Olympics Florida President and CEO Sherry Wheelock. “They are champions of inclusion, they understand the power of sports, and they have committed themselves to building a better world for people with intellectual disabilities. We are so grateful for all they have done for the athletes and families we serve.”