No matter where you are in the world, there are always good Samaritans that can be found to assist in times of need. Idaho is the location for the State Winter Games for Special Olympics taking place on February 28 and March 1. Of course, there is always something that has to go wrong. More than $4,000 of equipment was stolen from a storage unit, which would have put a huge dent in the team’s ability to participate in the games.
On February 15, Elizabeth King (team coach) arrived to the Moscow, ID storage unit that housed the team’s equipment and discovered the door to the storage unit open. After careful inspection, King found an abundance of winter sports equipment missing. In an interview with KLEW-TV, the coach said:
“I had to go and tell all the athletes that the equipment was gone. That was just devastating, because they’ve been practicing since the first weekend of January and they’ve worked really hard.”
The total value of the items that were stolen totaled approximately $4,200 and included nine pair of snowshoes, four pair of cross-country boot, one set of cross-country ski poles, one set of cross-country skis and 12 winter jackets.
After news of the break-in spread, the local response from the community was overwhelming, receiving donations and contributions from people in Washington and Montana. Special Olympics regional director Pam Lisenbe told KREM, “It went crazy. I got over 150 phone calls and emails, probably within the first 24 hours and they were still tricking in on Tuesday.”
The team also received a $1,000 donation from the Coeur d’Alene Eagles, which is another team scheduled to compete in Idaho. There are numerous ways to contact the team and show your support. You can get additional information via their Facebook page. It’s good to know there are people in the world that care about seeing other teams reaching their goals. They were able to resume their practices and get ready for the upcoming competitions.
This is yet another instance of something that has been negatively associated with an Olympics related event, which is baffling. The Olympic Games - regular and Special Olympics are designed to offer a platform for those athletes who love the sport and want to share their achievements with the world. It is unfortunate what happened to the team’s equipment and the police are conducting an investigation into the matter. Hopefully there was camera surveillance equipment that will be able to pinpoint the culprits and provide some assistance in capturing the thieves.
If you weren’t aware, the Special Olympics is an international competition that takes place in different states and countries around the world that mirror the standard Olympic Games but are designed for athletes with mental or physical handicaps. This make the theft even more tragic, as these athletes in over 170 countries train year-round to be able to compete. This takes a tremendous amount of courage and heart. Let’s hope the thieves are caught.