Special Olympics Pennsylvania #50for50: Gary H. Reid II

#50for50: Volume 50
▪️ Gary H. Reid II
▪️ 21 years old
▪️ Area M

“It was maybe when I was 6 years old that I started with Special Olympics. Even before I could compete I used to get the participation badges. A little after that I started being able to be an athlete. Started really getting involved and getting blue ribbons and red ribbons and all that. I like running. And I did the long jump. I do bowling, too. And softball and swimming. I swim like a shark. I like to stand up there on the podium. I like to win and stand up there and get my medal and stuff. For whatever reason I like to run. I used to run before Special Olympics and everyone tried to catch me. Special Olympics helped. It’s a family event. My family always comes to see me. It was different this year. We really missed having it. … I like going to the dances. I love the [Olympic] Village where the DJ is. We have a lot of dances. The summer dance, the Halloween Dance. I love that. I dressed up as a hot dog this year. I won the funniest costume. I picked that out and my mom was like, ‘why?’ … Right now it’s a lot going on. We’re just finding the time to get on the Zooms and we’re trying to do the best we can with all that. Zoom is one of those things that’s become a part of your life in doing everything. Sometimes with Zoom you get burnt out from it. But we do have a lot of activities we’re doing on Zoom. This year I like the fact that no matter where you are you can join. That’s pretty nice. I did Virtual Summer Games, which was really nice. I keep the ribbons in my room. I have a lot of first and second place. Green and blue and red. I keep all my ribbons. I keep them in a pouch full of all of them. … I’m a super senior at my high school and I’ll be graduating in 2021. I’m going to have an interview on December 3rd with Goodwill through a transition program with OVR [Office of Vocational Rehabilitation] and they’re helping me. There’s also a program in Harrisburg that’s a college program for people with disabilities. I’m looking into that, too. … I love to listen to music and Facetime my friends. The main thing I like to do is dance. And play the Wii. It’s a lot of music stuff. I like to listen to house music. My birthday party song. I like a variety of music. Club music. I like those kinds of beats. Some rap, hip hop, R&B. Old school. I even sing opera. … For my 21st birthday, we did a socially-distant birthday party. We had a few friends over and family members, everybody had to wear masks and we had cake. It was good. It was a team effort. … I make my family smile. I make them laugh. I’m very social. I shave and I learned how to do that really fast. I picked it up in no time. I have a brother, a sister, two nieces, two nephews and a dog, Shy. She’s 14 years old. She’s still pretty active. She goes in our bags if we sit them down, she goes sniffing in it. They’re all my friends. We have fun together.”

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Special Olympics Pennsylvania

The mission of Special Olympics Pennsylvania is to provide year-round sports training and competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills, and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes, and the community.

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