Special Olympics Oklahoma recently presented awards to outstanding performers at the Summer Games Opening Ceremonies, held at Gallagher Iba Arena in Stillwater.
An Oklahoma City girl was among the honorees. The 2011 Special Olympics Athlete of the Year was Heather Hancock from the Capitol area on the near-east side of the city. Presenting the award to her was Barry Switzer, Head Coach, Special Olympics Oklahoma.
Hancock has been a Special Olympics Oklahoma athlete for 19 years. She has competed in basketball, golf, bocce, bowling and aquatics. She is employed by the Special Education Section of Oklahoma State Department of Education.
Coach Switzer has devoted decades of service to the Special Olympics in Oklahoma and around the United States. He was honored for his service with the 2009 John F. Kennedy Award, presented by the Knights of Columbus Council No. 1038, based at the Santa Fe Family Life Center in north Oklahoma City.
Other award winners came from across Oklahoma. The Smith Family of Geronimo was named Special Olympics family of the year. The spirit award went to Taylor Brown of Norman. His coach, Lolieta Miller of Norman, was designated coach of the year.
Also honored at the Stillwater games, as volunteer of the year, was Kiandre Glasgow of Enid. Oklahoma. The Special Olympics Synar award, for outstanding service by a company or business, went to Wal-Mart for its consistent support of the annual games.
NOTE: Editor Patrick B. McGuigan contributed to this story.