Coach is devoted to those with special needs
February 1, 2012 4:18PM
Updated: March 3, 2012 11:32AM
I can’t think of another person who deserves it more.
Angie MacKenzie began volunteering for Special Olympics when she was still in school, and 16 years later, she continues to bring joy into the lives of Special Olympians.
Although she began by helping with special events, it didn’t take long for her to express a desire to coach. Her consistently positive attitude, her genuine smile, and her sports knowledge have combined to raise her to the top of the heap as a volleyball and basketball coach, and an assistant for other sports.
Angie has the ability to bring out the best in every athlete, and “winning” is not always reflected in the score, but rather in the pride of the work ethic of her team members.
The athletes adore her, the parents trust her implicitly, and all coaches genuinely respect her. She can diffuse a tense situation by simple honesty.
Her entire life revolves around children and adults with special needs. She worked as a case manager for Indiana Professional Medical group and helps both parents and those in need receive the support services they need.
She and her husband Jim met through Special Olympics, so their two adorable sons are learning at a young age to accept and respect everyone.
Angie served as coach for Porter County’s women’s basketball team in both 2006 and 2010 for Special Olympics National Games, and had the joy of having both teams earn gold medals as national champs.
Although many of us give her credit for developing teams who work fluently together, Angie gives all the credit to her players for their focus and unselfish play.
It is no wonder she is considered an A+ coach, and earned the honor of being chosen as Spirit of Special Olympics Indiana Coach of the Year at the state conference.
Congratulations, and thanks, Angie, for being the best. You are my pet person of the week.
Accolades also to Area 1 winners: Family of the Year, the Byerlys; Athlete of the Year, Leeanne Bettenhausen; and Volunteer of the Year, Margaret Hicks. You are all the reasons Special Olympics grows and glows.
There is another young lady who deserves applause. (Girls rock!) With more than 60,000 students throughout Indiana eligible for the secondary student Career and Technical Education Award for Excellence from the Department of Education, Sarah Jackett is one of only 13 students to receive this prestigious honor.
Her video production and media studies instructor, Robert Phelps, said Sarah is not just an outstanding student, she is also a great leader. She has a natural ability in writing, editing, and video productions, and loves being behind the camera to promote worthy causes.
Jackett not only focuses on her schooling, but is very active in community volunteering.
One of her outstanding projects is a video with informational material concerning Tourette Syndrome that she made on behalf of her younger brother who is afflicted with the condition.
What makes Sarah so extra-special is that she has been unable to attend school since late October because of illness — a real heartbreaker for her — yet her drive for learning and her goal to attend college and become a TV producer or editor has kept her determined to succeed and keeps her at the top of her class.
Career and Technical Center principal Jon Groth said there aren’t enough superlatives to describe what a great kid Sarah is.
“I expect, in her future, Sarah will be producing documentaries about world poverty. That’s just the kind of person she is.”
I have a sneaking suspicion that it won’t be too many years before the name Sarah Jackett will be appearing on our TV screens! Congratulations, Sarah, and I pray you are totally healthy very soon. You are surely a pet person of the week too.
In your prayers this week, please keep Ron Kirk in mind. He is the brother of several of our athletes and partners, and has been missing in the Red Rock Mountains since Jan. 18.
At this time searches have found no clues as to where he could be. His brother Garnett told me he is amazed at the hundreds of people who have given of their time to help search for him.
It is times of trials that we learn that the majority of people are caring and good. So please pray, and then I hope you have a great day because you deserve it.
Thanks for reading. Fly your flag.