Special Olympics Tennessee recently received checks totaling $7,777 that were from the St. John Neumann Parish Ted H. Denning Jr. Knights of Columbus Council 8781 fundraising efforts.
The “Lucky 7s” contribution supported the Hawkins County Unified flag football team so that it could participate in the quadrennial Special Olympics USA Games in Orlando on June 4-12. This is the first time a Special Olympics team from Hawkins County has ever been selected to attend a USA Games event.
With no large businesses in its impoverished community, fundraising is a daunting task for the team. Special Olympics Tennessee indicates that each member needs $1,000 to cover uniforms, travel, lodging, and meals. Council 8781 members voted to give $1,035 from prior KIND fundraising efforts before starting the drive to raise additional funds (the KIND Foundation is a Knights of Columbus organization providing grant opportunities to those with special needs).
Father Emil Kapaun Assembly 3500, which serves the council’s Fourth Degree members, contributed $500. Council 8781 applied for and received a $5,000 grant that draws from a pool of KIND contributions collected statewide. To reach $7,777, Council 8781 members donated a total of $1,242. And, separately, other Council 8781 members donated online a total of $830.
A snapshot of the Hawkins County Unified flag football team: Scottie lost both parents at an early age. He is homeless. Special Olympics has given him opportunities he would never have otherwise. Robert is an avid snowboarder. He was chosen to compete in the World Winter Games in Austria a few years back. Lindsey is also considered homeless. She is staying with her aunt at this time. Lindsey loves all sports. This is her last year of high school. Clint was adopted while in seventh grade. He was already a Special Olympics athlete when he moved to the area. He is a student at ETSU in the access program. He works as a janitor and lives at home with his father. Joe works at Lowe’s. He has lived independently for more than a year and attends ETSU in the access program.