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Cahaba Mental Health members raced to the finish line Tuesday in the annual Special Olympics, held at Memorial Stadium. Members enjoyed classic track and field events. --Sarah Cook
Cahaba Mental Health members raced to the finish line Tuesday in the annual Special Olympics, held at Memorial Stadium. Members enjoyed classic track and field events. -- Sarah Cook

Athletes compete at annual Selma’s Special Olympics event

Published 8:35pm Tuesday, April 2, 2013

With a packed stadium cheering them on, members of Cahaba Mental Health competed for the gold Tuesday at the annual Special Olympics, held at Memorial Stadium. And although the competition was fierce, every member felt like a champion as they crossed the finish line.

Before the games began, Selma Mayor George Evans and State Rep. Dario Melton kicked off the day by walking the track with a lit torch, held by a Cahaba Mental Health member.

Lafon Barlow, executive director of Cahaba Mental Health, said she was impressed by the high amount of community support.

“I think this could be the largest crowd we’ve ever had,” Barlow said in between cheering on members during the 50-meter dash. “It just shows a world of good for the community to come out and support this.”

Other than Cahaba Mental health, members of the Dallas County High School SGA, Wallace Community College nursing students, Selma police and fire departments and many others came out to show their support.

In all, 125 members participated in the day’s activities, which included classic track and field events like the shot put throw and the 100-meter dash.

Floyd Sanders, who has served as the Special Olympics coordinator since 1979, said it’s always a blessing to host the event and see all the smiles on participants’ faces.

“It just keeps getting bigger and better,” Sanders said. “It makes my day to see all of the smiles and for them to win ribbons and be able to compete.”

Margaret Gamble, member of Cahaba Mental Health, has been participating in the Special Olympics for 15 years and said her favorite part is being able to run and walk in the competitions.

While watching proud participants dash across the finish line, Kacey Barrett and Taylor Carroll, members of Dallas County High School SGA, said volunteering with the Special Olympics is always a rewarding experience.

“It’s been wonderful,” Barrett said of the day. “We’ve done this for several years with Dallas County and it just keeps getting better. We’re so glad there’s people out here watching and cheering them on — it’s just so rewarding to see them smile.”

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