Palm Beach County Honors a Champion of the Special Olympics Movement

Rich Fleming

Rich Fleming, Palm Beach County’s Special Olympics Director, has been inducted into the Palm Beach County Sports Hall of Fame. Rich was honored in late March for three decades of work to give people with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to experience the joy of sports.

Rich has been with Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation since 1990, becoming the county’s Special Olympics director in 1996. He immediately began working to raise the profile of Special Olympics Florida athletes and others with ID. He built an organizational infrastructure, improved fundraising, and elevated the level of coaching.

When Rich took the job, the program operated out of a trailer. Today, it is headquartered in a modern sports facility that serves our athletes and houses our staff. Despite the program’s tremendous growth – up more than 200 percent since 1997 – Rich has kept its focus on giving individual athletes the best experience possible.

Here’s how the mother of one Palm Beach County athlete put it: “When an athlete speaks to him, he hangs on their every word. You can see it in his eyes. He’s totally in tune with them. He has such respect for – and belief in – the athletes. He is the kindest, most considerate and giving man I’ve ever met.”

You can read about the awards here or watch Rich’s induction video here.

Congratulations, Rich.