Going for Gold: Civitan clients celebrate Special Olympics wins

Staff Writer

Earlier this summer, Special Olympics athletes from across the nation gathered in Seattle to compete in the Special Olympics USA games. Four Civitan Services members competed and returned home with pride and plenty of medals.

Keith Lertpenmaeta won two gold medals for the 400-meter walk and the miniature javelin event. He said he had to practice for a "very long time" before the competition and he enjoyed touring Seattle.

Brandon Baker won three bronze medals for powerlifting, including a medal for deadlift, bench press and deadlift and bench combo.
This is Baker's first time to compete in the Special Olympics USA Games, but he said he wasn't nervous.
He especially enjoyed participating in the opening ceremony and watching the other athletes perform. He said Seattle was a pretty town.

Cody Calhoun was a member of the basketball team that won a bronze medal. To win the medal, Calhoun had to play in two games.
He said he was nervous about playing, but he still performed well.
While not competing, Calhoun said he enjoyed watching various wrestling stars perform.

Brooklyn Ables won bronze and silver medals in bowling. Ables said she had the "best time ever."
She enjoyed "all the games but especially bowling, making new friends and spending the week with her friends," she said.
While touring Seattle, she also enjoyed riding the trolley.

Emily Cathcart, adult services coordinator for Civitan Services, said she serves as the couch for the Special Olympics athletes at Civitan Services.
Currently, more than 100 clients participate in sports.
"It gives them a purpose," she said. "It gives them that sense of accomplishment and pride ... I think everybody deserves to feel that."
She added that Special Olympics also encourages the clients to stay healthy and active.
Even though she did not make the trip to Seattle, Cathcart said she enjoyed watching the events on TV.
She was very excited when she watched the opening ceremony and she saw their huge smiles.
"I know how excited they were ... they did phenomenally," she said.