Athletes prepared for competition, spectators watched with excitement and more than 400 UTC employees, friends and family members were on-site this past weekend to support the annual Special Olympics Summer Games held at Southern Connecticut State University.
Over the course of the weekend, the Connecticut Special Olympics brought together more than 2,500 athletes, 500 coaches, hundreds of spectators – and 2,000 volunteers.
"Without our volunteers, it would not be possible to run these events and help the athletes succeed," said Anne Parker, co-chair of the standing long jump event managed by UTC Aerospace Systems. "It’s such an amazing experience for everyone."
Volunteers sporting teal UTC T-shirts were found on the field helping with various track events. Led by a committee of UTC employees from across the company, the volunteers spent the day managing the track and field events from beginning to end.
"UTC’s support of the summer games extends beyond serving as the presenting sponsor; it is the UTC employees, family and friends that make this event a success," said Beau Doherty, President of Special Olympics Connecticut.
In 1977, a grant from UTC helped establish the first statewide competition in Connecticut, and now the company is one of the largest sponsors of the summer games. Since the beginning, UTC employees have not only served as volunteers, but have also invested their time, energy and passion to help the program grow year after year.
With some committee members supporting the sponsorship since it began, the friendships and relationships developed with the athletes each year brings to light the power of UTC’s partnership with the Special Olympics.
“Knowing that as a team we are able to work together to support these athletes and help put smiles on their faces is really what this weekend is about,” said Chris Dlugolecki, Otis, who chaired the indoor racewalking event.