Navy Region Hawaii Public Affairs
More than 20 service members volunteered April 21 to assist in the Special Olympics Hawaii swim meet at the Henry J. Kaiser High School in Hawaii Kai.
“We are so grateful because every year, without fail, not only do personnel from the military show up, but they show up with enthusiasm,” said Mei Nakamoto, the deck referee at the swim meet. “They are always willing to help, and they are always willing to cheer. They are the best cheerleaders, and we want them to come back every year.”
During the swim meet, Sailors, Airmen and Marines were assigned to time the athletes who participated in several swimming events.
Engineman 1st Class (SW) Tanner Baku, assigned to Navy Region Hawaii, was one of the volunteer timers.
“I’ve done it a few times, and I enjoy it,” Baku said. “That’s why I keep doing it, coming out here. I’ve done three full events in the past and a few practices. Coming to the events, and to see it all come together is awesome.”
Swim events varied from 10-meter distances all the way up to 50 meters, each with varying swim styles- freestyle, backstroke and breaststroke.
Special Olympics Hawaii serves more than 2,100 adults and children.
According to its website, Specialolympics.org, “The mission of Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills, and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.”
Approximately 50 competitions are held yearly through various sports activities for Special Olympics Hawaii. Special Olympics Hawaii depends on the efforts of more than 6,000 volunteers yearly. Volunteers represent corporate sponsors, civic groups, military groups and individuals