With a packed gallery and plenty of energy in the room, it was a positive and jubilant Council Chambers on Monday, March 11th. A group of a couple of dozen athletes and their coaches gathered at the regular City Council meeting to be recognized by the city. Special Olympics Vice President and coach Shelley Finney and coach Brian Reifferscheid presented a history of the organization in Humboldt. Finney relayed how the organization began with the efforts of supporters like Tony Saretsky and Bev Yeager. She added that bowling had been an important part of the sporting activities thanks to the work of Ken Ruthven. Finney recognized that participants come from Humboldt and communities like Cudworth, Quill Lake, and Wadena.
Mayor Rob Muench thanked the group for their dedication to their sports and the coaches and supporters in the community for their ongoing efforts. He recognized both the recent and past successes of the individuals as each of the athletes proudly wore their medals. The audience members beamed as Muench presented the group with a certificate of recognition.
The recognition of the athletes was the brainchild of City of Humboldt Councillor Lorne Pratchler. The idea came to him as he was working at the Knights of Columbus pancake breakfast supporting the Special Olympics teams. Some of the athletes at the breakfast started talking about their sports experience. Referring to the heart-stopping finale of the floor hockey victory, Pratchler explains, "They had such passion about describing the last couple minutes and tying in the game, and the goal they made in the last two seconds to win the provincial gold. I could see in their eyes they were so excited about it -- for them and for their team."
Pratchler praised the mayor and colleagues on the council for recognizing the organization. Pratchler concluded, "This is a wonderful aspect to our community that we do need to celebrate. I'm glad that the mayor and council all agreed to bring it together today."
Council took a break from the proceedings to enjoy refreshments with the assembled guests, all of whom were delighted to talk about their past victories. They are definitely looking forward to victories to come.