2001-12-01 / Sports

St. Camillus Opens Up For Business

St. Camillus Opens Up For Business

The St. Camillus Special Olympics Training Site began its fifth season on October 1st.  The site meets every Monday night except for holidays until mid-June in the St. Camillus Gymnasium.  It offers recreational and competitive training in basketball, floor hockey, track and field, soccer, football, softball and bowling.  In addition, the athletes enjoy table tennis, a pool table, and various board games. 

Each training session begins with calisthenics, light weight lifting, jogging and relay races. The St. Camillus program began in the fall of 1997 with nine athletes and nine volunteer coaches. There are now 36 athletes and 45 volunteers in the program. New athletes this fall include:  Jose Beza, Joseph D'Angelo, Brian Delury, Louis Depietro, Debra Imperiale, Renee Sayour and Ann marie Zerbrini.

What makes the Special Olympics program so special for the 36 athletes is the attention they receive from so many wonderful volunteers of all ages from elementary school students to grandparents. The athletes and their parents thank all the new volunteers which include:  Maureen Carey, Eddie Carroll, Tim Curley, Andy Dory, Meghan and Mary Edwards, Russell Hauk, Katrina and Mary Kellar, Bridget Killian, Carol Kennedy, Katie Maguire, Julie Miller, Casey Mulligan, Claire, Mary and Tricia Ollquist, Monica Savage, Walter White and Catherine White. These new volunteers fill the shoes of the high school volunteers who have gone away to college this fall. The program sincerely thanks Kristen Daly, Danny Donohue, Kiera Duffy, Katie Grogran, Mike Quinn and Sean Tubridy for their years of dedicated coaching and everyone hopes they visit us on their breaks from college.

The 2001-02 program has already had some highlights.  Most of the athletes wore costumes to the Halloween party where they ate pizza and cake and danced to YMCA and the Macarena.  However, a parent, Regina Clark-Fitzpatrick stole the show in her Uncle Sam outfit.  The athletes enjoyed two birthday cakes from Elizabeth Sena and Caitlin Murtagh.  Joe Jenkusky, Sr. published two issues of volume two of the Special Olympics Newsletter.  Meghan Edwards won the Brooklyn-Queens High School Cross Country Championship.  Finally, Rita and Flip Mullen provided their house and backyard to host a community party to raise funds for the athletes and the program.  On the same weekend, Rockaway's Division of the Ancient order of Hibedrnians donated their proceeds from their annual Riis Park golf tournament and Harbor Light luncheon to the program.

The 2000-01 year ended with the athletes and their parents enjoying a ride around Manhattan Island on the Staten Island Ferry courtesy of the Marine and Aviation Anchor Club.  Mike O'Toole and Linda Graves provided clowns, music and food to 2,000 riders.

At the St. John's University Track and Field Meet, in the Softball Throw, Terence Burke, Paul Fitzpatrick, Heather Huber and Evan Russell won gold medals, Joseph Orbana silver, and Brian Moriarty and Kevin Nolan won bronze.  In the running events, Paul won a gold, Brian and Evan silver, and Terence, Joseph and Emily Hutton won bronze.

At the Fordham University Track and Field Meet, in the Softball Throw, Terence Burke, Paul Fitzpatrick, Heather Huber and Evan Russell won gold medals, Joseph Orbana, silver, and Brian Moriarty and Kevin Nolan won bronze.  In the running events, Paul won a gold, Brian and Evan silver, and Terence, Joseph and Emily Hutton won bronze.

At the Fordham University Basketball Skills Competition which included passing, dribbling, and shooting, Paul Fitzpatrick and Heather Huber won gold, Anthony Davis, James Flood and Nicholas Thies won silver, Emily Hutton and John Shea bronze, and Laura Occipinti and Patrick Tritschler won 4th place medals.

A wonderful addition to the program occurred on March 24th.  The basketball team played its first home basketball games against the ACDS All Stars of Plainview.  The athletes wore their new green and white uniforms which were donated from the Ken Killian Ocean Mile proceeds by the St. Francis de Sales CYO program.  Ken's wife, Eileen, and his daughters, Sarah, Bridgett and Tricia proudly watched St. Camillus honor him with a victory over their Long Island fellow athletes.  Over 200 spectators supported the peninsula's athletes. 

Two weeks previously, in the same gymnasium, many of the athletes, their parents and coaches attended the St. Patrick's Dance to honor Father Dunne for his years of support for so many activities.  Kevin Reilly gave a wonderful tribute to Father Dunne.  The athletes were, in turn, happily surprised when both Father Dunne and Bob Sommerfield made contributions to their program.

Finally, two long-time, enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers got married.  Many of the athletes and coaches attended the weddings of volunteer Danielle Mullen to William Kelly and volunteer Joe Courtney to Loretta Connolly.  We wish them lots of good luck.

The community is welcome to visit the Special Olympics program on any Monday night.  The athletes, their parents and all the coaches sincerely thank all of you in the community for your financial and moral support.  You enable us to participate in so many activities.


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