You can make a difference

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Wesley Hardin
  • 382nd Training Squadron
Would you like to change a life? What a question to ask.

The Sheppard and Wichita Falls communities will have an opportunity to do just that. On April 21, Special Olympics Texas - North Area 9, will celebrate the 35th Annual Spring Games at City View High School stadium. The event kicks-off with the opening ceremonies at 8 a.m., followed by the track and field competition, which concludes at 3:30 p.m.

Special Olympics have always fascinated me - watching the joy and excitement on the faces of competitors touched my inner-most being. We tend to take the little things for granted; running, throwing a softball, etc., but not the athletes who take part.

I was first introduced to Special Olympics in April 1982 while attending technical training at Sheppard. My instructor solicited volunteers, and I signed up to support. I was assigned as a "hugger" to meet the participants at the end of an event.

That day, I gained an added appreciation for what Special Olympics really meant. It opened my eyes to the impact this event has on the lives of the athletes participating. So much so, that I have volunteered at various duty stations since that time supporting this worthwhile cause.

As an Air Force member, we strive to live our core values. What better way to demonstrate "service before self" than to give a little something back to the community.

I am honored to serve as the 2007 Sheppard volunteer coordinator for this year's Special Olympics and I challenge you to consider taking part in this life changing event. Come out and cheer the athletes on to victory. You will be changed, and the athletes and their families will be truly thankful for your support.

For more information regarding this event, call Senior Master Sgt. Wesley Hardin at 676-6914 or email See you there.