Their shoe sizes vary as much as their skill levels, but every athlete inside Mustang-Panther Stadium on Wednesday, March 22 proved their worth, dedication, and abilities at the annual Special Olympics track and field events hosted by GCISD.
Hundreds of athletes from Grapevine, Colleyville, and surrounding cities competed, while friends, family members, coaches, classmates, and city leaders cheered them on inside Mustang-Panther Stadium.
Ten Grapevine Police Officers showed their support, shouting encouragement and clapping from the sidelines, and even posing for pictures with athletes. Many also participated in the Opening Ceremony Torch Run, walking (or in some cases running) alongside the athletes passing the torch. Grapevine Police Chief Eddie Salame accompanied the very first Torch carrier on the track. Chief Salame also helped time many of the events, offering high-fives to each competitor.
Grapevine City Manager Bruno Rumbelow also timed some of the track events; he spent the rest of the games cheering on athletes at the finish line, as did GCISD Superintendent Dr. Robin Ryan.
Grapevine Police Officer Chad Hale cheered on athletes for the entire competition, then got ready for his next Police shift. Ofc. Hale was in the "Circle of Friends" club in Keller in High School, where students initiate and nurture friendships with classmates who have disabilities; he says he always looks forward to watching the Special Olympics.
Grapevine Police Officers are lucky in that the City and community members are always ready and willing to cheer on officers for a job well done. Times like this -- it's nice to be the cheerleaders for a change! Great job to all of the athletes!