The sound of starter’s guns, cheering crowds and celebrating athletes can be heard at sporting facilities all around Seattle, Wash. and King County, July 1 to 6, as the region hosts the Special Olympics USA Games.
This fourth edition of the quadrennial USA Games is billed as the largest sporting event to hit Seattle in recent memory. Some 14,000 participants, coaches and family members from all 50 states and the District of Columbia have descended on the region. Officials say it is a showcase of the power, joy and inclusiveness of sports as delivered by athletes challenged with intellectual disabilities.
“The USA Games are all about acceptance and inclusion,” said Bill McSherry, vice president of Government Operations for Commercial Airplanes, who joined 39,000 others at the Opening Ceremonies at UW Husky Stadium on Sunday. “We gladly signed on as a sponsor to help underwrite the games because recognizing and encouraging diversity and inclusion and giving back to the communities where we live and work aligns with the Boeing Behaviors and the core values of this company.”
Boeing’s involvement in the games also includes more than 500 employees who have signed up to help out during the week. Hai Lim Jeong, who works for Flight Test Design at Boeing Field, and Susan Rogers, who works in Financial Operations in Core Engineering in Everett, were two of the Boeing employees who were part of the cheer line welcoming athletes to the Opening Ceremonies.
“We came to show our support and give our love,” Jeong said.
“We are cheering and giving our support to all the athletes who are here competing and doing the best that they can and not at home sitting on the couch," Rogers added.
Putting on an event the size of the USA Games requires a lot of behind the scenes work to ensure success and Jack Dove and his team of Boeing drivers are right in the thick of things. “This is a monumental challenge,” said Dove, Executive Transportation manager at the Seattle Distribution Center. “I’ve helped out during the state games. This is three times that size!” To say he’s “helped out” is a bit of an understatement. Dove has worked at Special Olympics events for 39 years!
Dove is working the USA games as part of Boeing’s sponsorship team. The company is donating transportation coordination, trucks and drivers for the games. “My team has been here all week. They all know what they are doing and they are going to have everything in place when and where it’s needed.” Dove says that includes doing everything from hauling stages from SAFECO field to Husky Stadium to transporting the luggage of thousands of participants from SeaTac airport to the athletes’ village at UW. “If they need to haul something the Boeing team has them covered.”
And when the last medals are handed out and the games end on July 6, Dove and his team will haul everything back where it belongs.
By Ronald Taylor