(L-R) Front row: Tahlequah Outlaws Special Olympics athletes Vanessa Hilderbrand and Charleston Hughes. Back row: Special Olympics Oklahoma Vice President of Development and Marketing Derek Cain, Special Olympics Oklahoma President and CEO Adrian DeWendt, Tahlequah Outlaws Special Olympics athlete Kendal Davis, Tahlequah Outlaws coach Bea Dougherty and Cherokee Nation Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — The Cherokee Nation donated $25,000 to Special Olympics Oklahoma to help defray costs of the Summer Games event this May in Stillwater.
Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden recently met with representatives from Special Olympics Oklahoma and members of the Tahlequah Outlaws Special Olympics team, who helped present the check. The Outlaws are taking 51 athletes to the summer games this year, with more than half of the team being Cherokee Nation citizens.
Special Olympics Oklahoma provides year-round sports training and athletic competitions in a variety of sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. The goal is for all persons with intellectual disabilities to have an opportunity to become useful and productive citizens who are accepted and respected by their families, friends and community members.
“Special Olympics Oklahoma is changing thousands of lives each year by providing these athletes with a place to showcase their many talents,” Crittenden said. “If we could all spend time with Special Olympic athletes like our friends on the Tahlequah Outlaws team, we’d come away with a better understanding of being positive and upbeat about life. These athletes are a blessing to us. I’m proud the Cherokee Nation is a long-time supporter of Special Olympics Oklahoma and teams like the Tahlequah Outlaws.”
The funding for Special Olympics Oklahoma is provided through the Cherokee Nation’s annual charitable contributions fund.
“The annual donation from the Cherokee Nation is a huge deal for us,” said Adrian DeWendt, Special Olympics Oklahoma president and CEO. “Cherokee Nation has been a longtime partner with us, and we really could not do what we do without the support of the Cherokee Nation.”
This year’s Summer Games event will be May 15-17 on the Oklahoma State University campus in Stillwater. It is the largest summer games event for Special Olympics in North America, according to organizers.
More than 5,200 athletes are expected to compete in the 2019 Summer Games.
For more information on Special Olympics Oklahoma, visit https://www.sook.org.
Julie Hubbard 918-207-3896
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