Several Pratt & Whitney Connecticut employees recently took part in the Special Olympics Unified Relay Across America, as part of the non-profit's effort to carry the Flame of Hope, lit in Greece, across all 50 U.S. states, leading to next month's Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles, California.
Pratt & Whitney employees in several states will continue to participate in half-mile segments later this month, as part of the company's support of this nationwide event. Pratt & Whitney has been a supporter of the Special Olympics for more than three decades, with employees volunteering in such events as the Winter Games floor hockey competition and Summer Games through the years.
Alice Straight, communications specialist, Commercial Engines, carried the torch for a half mile with her 11-year-old daughter, Nicola, a Special Olympics athlete, and Nicola's two best friends.
"This has been a wonderful experience with my daughter, and an important way to support a cause dedicated to ending the marginalization of individuals with intellectual disabilities," said Straight, who captained one of Pratt & Whitney's sponsored teams.
Pratt & Whitney Middletown employee Brenda Gorneau, a sheet metal development and repair technician, carried the torch for the half-mile leg after Straight's team. Gorneau has been involved with Special Olympics for almost 30 years, and started by volunteering for the Summer Games through Pratt & Whitney.
She said she has Pratt & Whitney to thank for letting her know about this year's relay, and for helping her secure a slot.
"I've been at Pratt for 37 years, and I love that they're so involved with Special Olympics," Gorneau said. "I love that they got me so involved with it, too."
According to the Special Olympics website, funds raised during this event will provide sports training, competition opportunities and other programs that help persons with intellectual disabilities become valued members of their communities, according to the Special Olympics website.