(Bradford, ON) South Simcoe Police Service lent its support and some athletic skills for Special Olympics in Bradford West Gwillimbury. Chief Andrew Fletcher attended an Open House on Wednesday, March 21, 2018 at Chris Hadfield Public School to generate interest in Special Olympics programs in the area.

Bradford is one of the few municipalities in Simcoe County that doesn’t have any programs for Special Olympians. “Right now the athletes from Bradford either have to go to Alliston or south to York Region and as our communities grow we need to provide those available programs,” Fletcher said before heading into the gymnasium to play bocce and basketball with the potential athletes. The Chief was welcomed by the players who were buzzing with excitement. Const. Jason VanderSar also stopped by to shoot some hoops and chat.

The event was organized by Hellaina Rothenburg, District Developer in Central Ontario for Special Olympics Ontario. Rothenburg is appealing for volunteers to get involved. “It’s not only about sport. It’s not only about fitness. It’s about being involved in your community. It’s about giving back so that others can enjoy the benefits of being involved in sports,” she said. Sara Budvet already volunteers for Special Olympics in a swimming program in Aurora but would like to help out athletes here. “Sometimes they’re forgotten about. I think that by being out here and helping them do something and achieve something, it’s really special for them,” said adding there is great satisfaction for volunteers.

Special Olympics Ontario is the charity of choice for police services that raise awareness and funds through the Law Enforcement Torch Run. It is a cause that is near and dear to Chief Fletcher. “It always strikes close to my heart. I have a real soft spot for these athletes because they give everything. If you’ve ever been to one of the openings of the provincial games, if you could bottle the energy in that room, the excitement, we’d never have a power shortage in this world,” said Fletcher. Special Olympics Ontario expects to have a bocce program in Bradford starting in June. For more information or to volunteer visit volunteer.specialolympicsontario.ca or email hellainar@specialolympicsontario.com.