Thank you to the Special Olympics team

Published 12:09 pm Monday, May 2, 2022

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By PASTOR JASON GREEN | Mineral Springs Baptist Church

I spent Thursday morning at the Chilton County Special Olympics. Michelle Coppedge, the Chilton County Board of Education Special Education coordinator, and her team do a wonderful job of helping provide these exceptional kids with this really cool experience.

For a day, these kids are celebrated publicly, allowed to compete as any other athlete, then awarded prizes. For them, there may never be many awards that come their way, but for a day, they are celebrated as champions.

These special kids laugh, hug, run, jump, love and receive love in an environment that is designed just for them. Loving these kids is easy. They receive it and return it so freely. It is inspiring to watch.

The lessons they teach us are many. There is an innocence in these kids, even though many have suffered through things physically, mentally and emotionally many of us cannot fathom. In all they endure, they do so with a far better attitude than I, ashamedly must confess, don’t have as often as I would like. They do not compete to be a winner, there are no losers. They race and throw, jump and kick just because they can. That’s what makes them winners.

Then, I consider the specially conditioned adults whom surround these astounding kids. Their love and sense of service to these students remind me of what all forms of primary education should be doing. These special teachers love with an abiding love, an overwhelming and consuming love. They engage in acts of service and kindness that many average people would demand a pat on the back for accomplishing. These educators, though, do what they do not for an accolade. They do it because they offer the only hug, the only affection, the only form of Jesus some of these kids ever receive, whether that day or in life at all.

And to consider that, just for a little while, I caught a little glimpse of God’s glory by watching what took place at Thursday’s Special Olympics … what a real blessing.

You folks do not do what you do for the thanks, but I thank God for Michelle and her team of special education teachers and support staff. I know the kids love you very much and appreciate what you do. But from the heart of this pastor — what you all do is undeniable, appreciated and life altering … for all whom care enough to draw near for a closer look. Keep doing what you do, and please let us know if our communities can do anything to lift and encourage your kids or your staff. Thank God for the encouragement of the Special Olympics. Thank God for all who helped make it possible. Well done faithful servants.