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Volunteering is in the Lizards’ blood

Starter extraordinaire Mark Mochon in action at the 2013 Special Olympics.

One of the key dates on the Lizard calendar each year is the Saturday in June when club members turn out in force to help put on the Special Olympics regional track and field meet at Mt. Hood Community College. The incredible spirit and enthusiasm of the athletes draws Lizards together to help the runners, throwers, jumpers, walkers, and rollers achieve their goals.

This year was no exception, and the athletes and volunteers were greeted with a bright sunny day and no lack of spunk and exuberance.  Valuable lessons in sportsmanship and perseverance abounded, as well as simply the pure joy of competing.  Of course a few tears were also shed, but they were usually quickly followed by grins and hugs as the disappointment or anxiety wore off.

No one who volunteers at this event can help but be moved in some way, as many small moments stand out: The boy who leaped over the finish line at the end of his race; The runner who reached over to ring the “bell lap” bell as he crossed the line; The tiny 9-year old girl who was excitedly hopping up and down before her race only to stop with her arms crossed in disappointment when she saw her fellow runners, all at least five years older, pulling away; And the various exchanges of pre-race advice and encouragement between the athletes at the starting line.

Anyone who has experienced the meet usually leaves exhausted but happy, having contributed to a well-run and efficient event that allowed these great athletes to pursue their best efforts.  To see Janelle Henderson’s photos from this year’s meet, check out the Red Lizard SmugMug gallery.

The next Lizard volunteer opportunity will be on July 4th at the Flat Half aid station.  For more information, and to sign up for a shift, visit this thread on the TRL message board.


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