It’s hard to paint a picture of why volunteering is more than community service until you’re living it. Specifically, when it comes to volunteering at the Special Olympics, it goes beyond simply being an extra helping hand; it’s ultimately about extending a hand of friendship to the athletes. Yet, when you’ve been extending that same hand for 37, 38 or even 39 years, it becomes more than just friendship – it’s family.
United Technologies celebrated its 40th year supporting Special Olympics of Connecticut with many longtime employees continuing their legacy of commitment and their time and hearts to this event.
“I volunteered for the first time in 1983, and it is a blessing and a reward to give my encouragement and friendship to these athletes,” said Nancy Hemingway, Pratt & Whitney.
Employees like Nancy represent the best of UTC – hardworking and genuine. She is one example of how several employees across the company have been returning year after year. Another longtime volunteer, Bob Gallipeau, Pratt & Whitney, reiterates the bonds that are formed through the games.
“Special Olympics has been part of my life for more than 35 years. I’ve made many friends, who in some cases, I may only see once a year at the games,” Gallipeau said. “I also enjoy helping others whether it’s the committee members, volunteers or athletes; everybody is part of my extended family. At times, Special Olympics may be hard work, but we still have fun.”
Serving this event for some stemmed from serving their country. For example, Brian Miniter, Pratt & Whitney, is both a veteran volunteer and a U.S. Army veteran who champions that importance of paying it forward.
“I have survived both Vietnam and Iraq, so I feel strongly that I should give of myself. I have been doing Special Olympics for 39 years and it has made me a better person.”