(Posted April 22, 2016)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
On April 28, the Madison County Special Olympics volleyball team will play London’s first responders in what organizers hope will become an annual event to promote Autism Awareness Month.
The match is set for 6 p.m. at Fairhaven School, 510 Elm St. (State Route 38), London. Admission is free. Concessions will be available. The public is invited to attend.
The match is the result of a discussion held at a recent London city council safety service meeting. Attendees talked about ways the city and the Madison County Board of Developmental Disabilities (MCBDD) could work together to serve individuals with disabilities and promote awareness.
“We’re going to have a fun match,” said Susan Thompson, MCBDD business director. “Hopefully, we can blow it up big and do this every year. The goal is to bring awareness to autism and all other disabilities.”
Members of the city’s police and fire departments will make up the first responders team. They face a formidable opponent. One of Madison County’s unified volleyball team won the Division I state title at last year’s Special Olympics Summer Games. Additionally, they are one of 15 teams from across the country chosen to play in a national tournament in Orlando, Fla., over Memorial Day weekend. The volleyball program has a total of six state titles to its name.
About the April 28 match, Police Chief Glenn Nicol said, “This is another great way to reach out and to have some fun.”
Each year, the London Police Department hosts a leg of the Special Olympics torch run, which take place in June as a lead up to the Summer Games in Columbus. Also, for the past several years, Nicol has volunteered as a soccer referee at the Summer Games.
“I’m really impressed about the positivity and attitude of the first responders. They really want to come and play our guys,” Thompson said.
For more information about the volleyball match, Special Olympics, or the Madison County Board of Developmental Disabilities, call (740) 852-7050.