October 8, 2014

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE – Nineteen members of the John A. Logan College softball team volunteered their time last Friday to assist Special Olympians at a district bocce tournament event hosted by the First Christian Church in Herrin.

Event organizer, Paul Melzer, Jr., who is the Southern Area 15 Director for Special Olympics Illinois, said about 300 athletes participated in the event.

“At Special Olympics Illinois, we work together as a team to ensure we are offering a great competition for our athletes,” he said. “And we appreciate the support of our volunteers.”

JALC softball coach Bruce Jilek said the Vols were glad to help out a good cause.

"We are appreciative to the Southern Illinois Special Olympics' personnel for allowing us the opportunity to work with their athletes last Friday,” Jilek said. “Our kids enjoyed the experience and commented on how the athletes they worked with were excited to participate. The athletes were intense and enjoyable to be around.  

“We appreciated how important qualifying to the next round was to the athletes and we recognized how many hours they put into practicing for the event,” Jilek said. “Our kids are looking forward to helping out Special Olympics anytime our services are needed.”

Jilek said people too often get caught up in the outcome of a sporting event.  

“The athletes who we enjoyed working with were all about the process of getting to the end result through their hard work, preparation, and positive attitudes.  Our kids will do well to emulate many of those traits.  We learned more from them than they did us."