Special Olympics Pennsylvania #50for50: Eddie Glover

#50for50: Volume 13
▪️ Eddie Glover
▪️ 57 years old
▪️ Philadelphia County

“It was the Blizzard of 2016 and I went out in the snowstorm. I walked out on two feet of snow and I took the train to Frankford. I never made it there. I made it as far as 11th & Market and got hurt. I slipped and busted both of my knees on the seat. I destroyed both of my knees.They me took off the train and to Jefferson Hospital. The train was delayed. I couldn’t even walk. I couldn’t even get up on my own two feet. I had two surgeries done on my knees. I got this knee brace on them to keep them from buckling now. … I’ve been in the Special Olympics program for 36 years. I’ve been living in Philadelphia all my life. I went to E.S. Miller school and I graduated in 1983 with a high school diploma. When I graduated, I started doing Special Olympics full time. I didn’t have time for Special Olympics when I was in high school because education comes first. … Downhill skiing was the first sport I ever did. Up in Monroe County, Pennsylvania. It was not hard. I do soccer, volleyball and basketball. And I do track & field and softball. I used to do rowing. … Back in 1987 I went away to the Special Olympics World Games in South Bend, Indiana at the University of Notre Dame. I did track & field, like running long jump. I got third place. And in shot put I got sixth place. My second World Games was in 2001 in Anchorage, Alaska for floor hockey and the whole team brought home the gold. Back in 2010, in Lincoln, Nebraska at the National Games for track & field I brought home four gold medals and one participant ribbon.”

Special Olympics Pennsylvania #50for50: Bryan Fagan

#50for50: Volume 12
▪️ Bryan Fagan
▪️ Unified Track & Field Coach
▪️ Souderton Area High School

“I am a Unified Track coach here at Souderton. I grew up in Doylestown and I’ve been teaching here for seven years. I teach Family & Consumer Sciences and I started working in restaurants when I was 12, bussing tables, dish washing and I worked in restaurants until I started teaching. … We tried to make sure we were setting up a program that was as similar to our varsity programs as it possibly could be. Doing things like having an apparel store or having the mentality of, ‘we’re practicing and pushing ourselves just like the varsity track and football team does.’ When it was raining and the varsity track team was outside practicing, we were outside practicing. … It was one of those things with teaching FCS, I have all our Special Ed kids coming through. So for me, my classes have always been unified. Helping that valedictorian understand that, ‘You’re going to be working with people with different ability levels. Not everybody’s text-book-smart like you are. If you become a business owner, how are you going to set people up for success as well as set your company up for success?’ … The Unified Track program has grown from the very first year with 14 kids on the team to last year, we had 20 managers, we had 42 kids that wanted to compete in track. We maxed out our 35-student roster and had kids running JV right with them. … For us, it’s really just a culture thing. It’s all about that ripple effect. It’s about having students come back in five years to say, ‘I’m doing this because I ran Unified Track or played Bocce.’ … The summer after my first year coaching, I got an email from one of our athletes’ parents with a picture of the athlete and two of our partner athletes from track. These two partner athletes had emailed her asking if they could take the athlete out to lunch. Being able to see that what we’re doing here was making its way out to social lives outside the building — especially since those partner athletes had already graduated — was probably one of the greatest moments I’ve had.”

Special Olympics Pennsylvania #50for50: Seth Jarrett

#50for50: Volume 11
▪️ Seth Jarrett
▪️ 37 years old
▪️ Union County

“I was in Global Messenger training in State College. I get to give all different speeches. I like one time I was at Kutztown University and gave my first speech. I made my mom cry. So I wanted to keep doing it. [After people hear me speak] they clap and they cheer me on. … I live independently, by myself in my own house. It feels good. And I work at Bucknell University. I work in Dining Services. I’ve been there for 19 years. I like working there. I work in the mornings, get in at 7:30 a.m., come home around 2:30 p.m. and I do what my supervisor tells me to do. I do everything they tell me. Pots and pans, trash and other stuff. … I bowled a 179 today [at the Eastern Bowling Sectional]. That was my best score ever. I bowled my heart out. I do bocce in the fall and I love all kinds of sports. … I’ve been in Special Olympics almost 27 years. I started swimming when I was 10. It helped me in all different ways. [My favorite event is] 200m breast stroke. We practice every Sunday afternoon. I have all different friends. My advice is change what you do in sports and enjoy it. It’s important you enjoy it.”

Special Olympics Pennsylvania #50for50: Matt Morris

#50for50: Volume 10
▪️ Matt Morris
▪️ 19 years old
▪️ Monroe County

“I’ve been in Special Olympics for five years. I play soccer, basketball and floor hockey. My mom went online and signed me up. I think it’s good. The friends. I have been coming to Fall Fest for five years. It was a good weekend. I scored a goal in soccer. I like running. I like the dance and Opening Ceremonies. I like the sports. I like video games and I like zombie movies. I graduated from Pleasant Valley High School.”

Special Olympics Pennsylvania #50for50: Emma Donnelly

#50for50: Volume 9
▪️ Emma Donnelly
▪️ Kensington High School
▪️ Philadelphia County

“My parents are both from Northern Ireland. I’m considered Irish-American. I don’t know if you can hear the accent a little bit. Some people can hear it. I went to Ireland last summer and it was fun. It’s a pretty good lifestyle, but it gets a little boring after while. You know what? It gets cold there. And it’s not like here. Here is very, very, very good and I don’t want to live in Ireland. I want to stay right where I am in Fishtown and not move anywhere else. I like to walk with my dog and see my friends. I go by some of their houses and say ‘Hey, how are you?’ and they say ‘Hi’ back to me. … I’m loving the Special Olympics. It’s kind of competitive with all the other schools, but it’s pretty fun to get to congratulate all the other teams and talk to them and things like that. It’s my second year doing bocce. Our coach, Mr. [Brandon] Hirsch, he’s really into the game with us and really shows respect for us. He really loves us and really loves our team. It’s really, really fun and competitive and I love the experience. You feel regular playing bocce. I’m autism and I feel normal. I like to talk to everybody and they talk back to me and play jokes on me. It’s the best feeling for me. … I’m thinking about doing Project SEARCH at Drexel University. It’s for people on the autism spectrum. I’m going to do an interview in March and if I do well on it, I’ll get accepted there and maybe get a job. … I want to do public speaking. I spoke at the Opening Ceremony today. It was pretty good and I wasn’t nervous at all. I also speak at church. I read there, not every Sunday but some Sundays. The news was here [at the Unified Bocce Championships] today I did want to be on TV and say some things. But, you know what? It’s all good. Maybe next time.”