Special Olympian invited to NBA All-Star Game
January 30, 2013 1:34PM
Updated: March 2, 2013 7:40AM
This past week was exciting for our Porter County Special Olympics in several ways.
A letter for Abby Johnston said, “Congratulations! It is my great pleasure to inform you that you have been selected to participate in the 2013 NBA Cares Special Olympics Unified Sports Basketball Game at the 2013 NBA All-Star weekend, Feb. 15-17 in Houston.”
What a super letter to a super young lady! Only 12 athletes worldwide were chosen for this awesome opportunity, and for one of them to be one of us is fantastic.
They will be interacting with NBA players throughout the weekend, and even have special seating at the All-Star Game.
Abby is an excellent basketball player — actually she is a superb athlete, and, besides basketball competes in and instructs swimming, plays volleyball and softball, and coaches both swimming and 3-on-3 basketball for Special Olympics.
She is the kind of young adult all of us wish every person in their 20s could learn from. Never does a nasty word cross her lips; she encourages athletes with lesser skills to become confident and enjoy their competition; her positive outlook and quiet manner are evident no matter what the situation.
In other words, Abby is an all-star, and well deserving of this tremendous honor. We are all so proud of you, Abby — me especially because you are my pet person of the week. Go show those high-paid players what a real star is all about!
Then, this past weekend, 10 of us from Porter County traveled to Indianapolis to attend the state Special Olympics conference.
The Friday night banquet recognizes volunteers, families, coaches and athletes who have been nominated by their area for the “Spirit of Special Olympics Award,” and then, by the vote of the state board, one from each category is chosen for the state award.
How thrilling it was for Porter County and all of Area 1 when the Rich and Debbie Hemphill family were chosen as the Family of the Year. They were so shocked, they didn’t even get out of their chairs right away until their Special Olympian, Jake, stood up.
The Hemphill family exemplifies all that is good in Porter County Special Olympics, and represent a myriad of committed, hard-working families who strive to continue to make the program even better.
None of them know the words, “I can’t” or “no.”
Debbie has been the concessions guru for many years, so it’s guaranteed there will be good food at every event, and they are often the first to arrive and the last to leave.
Rich and his son-in-law, Joe Hoernig, have been unified partners for basketball, golf and flag football, and also have coached in all three sports.
Their son, Jake, is a student at Boone Grove High School, and is a manager for both the football and basketball teams, and is as proud to be a part of the Wolves as any other athlete or student.
Congratulations to the whole Hemphill crew, and all the super families in our midst. I guess today there’s more than just one pet person of the week — hooray for the whole Hemphill crew!
Now I hope you have a great day because you deserve it.
Thanks for reading. Fly your flag.