Three local athletes earned a special opportunity.
Dennis Davis, Lithinia Frazier and Bill Degroat, all of Richmond County, will compete in the Special Olympics World Summer Games 2003 in Ireland on June 21-29.
Frazier will compete in rhythmic gymnastics, and Davis and Degroat will play on the bocce team with unified partners. Bocce is essentially lawn bowling, said their coach and coordinator, Kevin Enright of the Community Mental Health Center.
"It is just amazing to watch them," Enright said. "It brings out the person and the athlete. They get involved so they can enjoy life."
Two Rotary Clubs - the Rotary Club of Columbia County West and the Downtown Rotary Club - donated $3,000 to the team for travel expenses, which are not covered by the Special Olympics.
athletes Dennis Davis (front, from left) Lithinia Frazier and Bill Degroat will travel to the Special Olympics World Summer Games 2003 in Ireland. Standing are
Barry Hemphill (left), president of the Rotary Club of Columbia County West, and coach Kevin Enright. The club, in combination with Augusta's Downtown Rotary Club, donated
$3,000 for the group's travel expenses.
Photo by Valerie Rowell
The check was presented to Enright a few weeks ago, but the athletes attended a Columbia County West meeting Tuesday, where Enright gave the program.
"We wanted to participate in some way and we thought this was a great program for our club," said Barry Hemphill, Columbia County West president. "And it is neat because this is the first year (the World Special Olympics) are being held outside the United States."
The Augusta athletes are part of 32 Georgia athletes competing in the summer games. The three will kick off their two-week journey with a stop at Disney World, Orlando.
Enright coaches 10 of the 23 sports in the Special Olympics and takes athletes to four statewide tournaments a year. Because of that, there is no time left for anything except fund-raising to pay for registration fees, housing, meals, uniforms and equipment.
"Through your generosity you are sending us to Ireland," Enright told club members at the meeting. "We couldn't have done it without you."
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