Their motto: Let me win, but if I cannot win, Let me be brave in the attempt


News staff writer

July 1, 2006

Oregon State Police officers carried a torch across Oregon and into Corvallis last weekend to the opening ceremony of the Special Olympics Oregon 2006 Summer Games. In all, 1,200 athletes from across the state turned out to compete in the largest Special Olympics Oregon sports competition of the season.

The event, presented this year by Les Schwab Tire Centers, brought a group of dedicated and enthusiastic athletes from Hood River to Corvallis for the weekend, where they stayed in Oregon State University dorms and competed at the Crescent Valley High School campus in the softball throw, the shot put, the 50-meter and 100-meter dash, the 50-meter walk, and the 4x100 meter relay.

“The weekend went really well,” said Hood River’s Program Coordinator Barbara Langer. “The athletes all have such great attitudes and they’re very happy to get out, compete and have fun with sports.”

The Hood River athletes trained once a week for the past three months at Hood River Valley High School to prepare for the competition with the help of Langer and coaches Hector Ortiz, David Ortiz, Gerri Rector and Jayne Mederios. And their training paid off. Highlight performances include J.R. Loreto placing 4th in the shotput and 6th in the 100-meter dash, John Owre taking the gold metal in the 50-meter walk and a bronze in the shot put, Clayton Evans, Bill Dockham, Esther Simmons, Chris Garo and Mariah Langer receiving the bronze in the 4x100 meter relay, Garo taking the gold in the softball throw, Billy Cook placing 4th in the 50-meter dash, Ann Trudell getting bronze in the softball throw, and Langer getting a gold in the 50-meter dash and a bronze in the softball throw.

Although the crew brought home a cache of ribbons and medals, their outlook on the competition is one of effort and trial, not of winning at all costs.

“The athletes say the Special Olympics motto a lot,” Langer said. “It states: ‘Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt’.”

Special Olympics Oregon is privately-funded nonprofit organization that provides year-round sports training and competition to more than 5,000 adults and children with intellectual disabilities throughout the state.

The athletes will now prepare for the soccer, bowling and swimming seasons, which start in early September. After that, the winter season includes basketball and skiing.

According to Langer, the local group could always use volunteer support from the community.

“We especially could use some help and new ideas for fund-raising since we have to come up with a lot of money to be able to go to competitions,” Langer said.

To find out more about Special Olympics in the Hood River area, to volunteer, or to offer fund-raising ideas, contact Langer at 386-1527 or Coach Ortiz at 806-2369.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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