Special Olympics Delaware Fall Sports Festival magnificent in many ways

posted Tue, Nov 15, 2016 by Jon Buzby

With a bevy of colorful leaves still clinging to tree branches on the beautiful St. Andrew’s campus in Middletown, more than 700 athletes and Unified partners took to the courts and fields, and several dozen even took a run through the woods, at the annual Special Olympics Delaware Fall Sports Festival.

“At this time of year, you really can’t ask for better weather than what we have here today,” commented Chase employee Sarah Lammers, who, along with her husband, Scott, co-chaired the event for the 10th consecutive year.  

On a sunshine-filled fall day with temperatures hovering in the upper 50s, more than 200 Chase employees turned out on Nov. 12 to support a volunteer base of more than 400 which provided the people-power necessary to successfully execute an event that included day-long competitions in bocce, flag football, long-distance running, soccer and volleyball. A Young Athletes demonstration for children ages 2 – 7 was also held in the morning just before venues took a break for the gala Opening Ceremony.

“Our employees look forward to this event year after year and embrace the opportunity to be part of it no matter when or where it’s held,” Scott Lammers said. “Our employees will tell you they get far more out of the experience than they could ever give, and seeing the smiles on the athletes’ faces, always puts smiles on ours.”

Chase has sponsored and provided the event steering committee and day-of volunteers for the Fall Sports Festival for 19 years.

“As one of our longest-standing corporate partners, Chase continues to exceed expectations both in the value of their sponsorship as well as ensuring a quality event for our athletes,” SODE executive director Ann Grunert said. “What is perhaps most rewarding is watching their committee and all their volunteers work tirelessly to ensure they are providing the best experience possible for our athletes. That is a true measure of their company’s commitment to the community, and we are very fortunate they have chosen us to be a part of their outreach.”

That experience also held true for the faculty, staff and students of St. Andrew’s School, which, for the second straight year, provided the necessary first-class competition venues and other facilities Special Olympics seeks of its competition hosts. On a campus perhaps best known to outsiders as the setting for the 1989 film “Dead Poet’s Society,” the competition venues and other facilities on the St. Andrew’s campus provides an ideal setting for a first-class sports event.

“The competition venues themselves are exceptional, and the way this campus has embraced this event is just overwhelming,” Special Olympics Delaware senior director of sports Gary Cimaglia explained. “Whatever it is we ask of them, they find a way to make it happen. From providing more than 800 lunches for the athletes, coaches and volunteers, to staff volunteering for security detail and in other roles, to students spending all day Saturday wherever needed, we can’t thank the St. Andrew’s community enough.”

An outpouring of support in a perfect setting accentuated a truly magnificent day.