David Egan, Special Olympics Virginia competes in swimming, soccer, softball and tennis. He enjoys playing Unified Soccer and Unified Softball on a team coached by his brother. He credits Special Olympics for “giving him a voice” and has been actively using his voice at various public speaking engagements including in his current role as a 2014-2018 Sargent Shriver International Global Messenger. Over the years, David has volunteered at two World Games and participated in two Athlete Congresses. He serves on several boards to promote abilities and collaborate with other advocacy groups. David currently works at SourceAmerica as a Community Relations Specialist in Government Affairs.
Mary-Ellen Powers, Special Olympics Rhode Island, is a Graduate from Salve Regina University after completing a one-year program for Teacher Assistant Certification. She is a full time employee of Special Olympics Rhode as the Administrative Assistant. Mary-Ellen competes in Swimming, Unified Bowling and Unified Sailing. She enjoys all sports but her favorite is Unified Sailing. She completed a number of different Leadership trainings including Train the Trainer to train more athlete leaders. Mary-Ellen has lead the Special Olympics Athlete Oath and enjoys being interviewed by media. Mary-Ellen is currently a member of the North America Athlete Leadership Committee.
Frank Stephens, Special Olympics Virginia, joined Special Olympics 27 years ago and since then has served in numerous athlete leader roles, in addition to be a vocal and well known advocate for people with intellectual disabilities in the community. He has spoken to numerous National and Global governments and media outlets. Frank currently serves on the Program Board of Directors and enjoys playing basketball.
Ricardo Thornton, Special Olympics District of Columbia, is a well-known advocate for people with intellectual disabilities, serving on numerous community committee including under the Obama administration. He works for the Washington, D.C. Public Library and has received multiple awards from the city for his commitment to service. His story has been told on “60 Minutes” and in a TV movie, “Profoundly Normal”. Ricardo has traveled the world on behalf of Special Olympics.
Carmen Houston-Ludlam, Special Olympics Maryland, has been a Special Olympics Athlete for 7 years and is involved in a number of different sports such as Cheerleading, Swimming and Snowboarding, with her favorite being Cheerleading. She also takes part in Unified Tennis, Bowling and Bocce through school. Carmen has completed her Introduction to Athlete Leadership training and enjoys Public Speaking and working with the Media.
Novie Craven, Special Olympics D.C enjoys competing in a number of sports such as Basketball, Bocce, Tennis, Volleyball and Track and Field. She also enjoys participating in a number of Unified Sports. Her favorite sport is Basketball as she “loves the skills involved’. Other experiences that she has enjoyed within Special Olympics are participating in the Polar Plunge, being interviewed by media and participating in the Torch Run. Novie works as a Courtesy Clerk at Safeway.
Loretta Claiborne, Special Olympics Pennsylvania, has been involved in Special Olympics for over 30 years. In this time, she has participated in a number of sports such as Tennis, Soccer, Figure Skating, Alpine Skiing and Athletics. Loretta is currently the Chief Inspiration Officer and serves as a Board member on Special Olympics Board of Directors. She is an advocate for Special Olympics internationally and is self-employed as an Inspirational Speaker.
Dustin Plunkett, Special Olympics Southern California, competes in Softball, Golf, Bocce, Bowling and Flag Football. He is an employee of Special Olympics Southern California as the Athlete Leadership Manager. Dustin has gone through many different aspects of training within Special Olympics and enjoys public speaking. He is a former International Global Messenger from 2010-2014. Dustin’s favorite sport is Golf “because if you hit a bad shot you start thinking about how to make the next one better. Just like in life when something happens, you start thinking about how you can fix it”
Paul Marretti, Special Olympics Virginia, has a 27-year history with Special Olympics. He has served on Program Board of Directors and committees and attended Regional and Global events including leadership conferences, Games and Athlete Congress in 2010. Paul was also an International Global Messenger from 2002-2004. He enjoys all Unified Sports, especially softball and golf. Paul is currently a Courtesy Clerk at Kroger Supermarket.
Jordan Schubert, Special Olympics Pennsylvania, is employed as an Athlete Leadership/Young Athletes Coordinator at Special Olympics Pennsylvania. His favorite sport is Basketball where he has made many friends while playing in Pennsylvania and Illinois. He has experience in delivering formal presentations and also participates in Unified Sports. Jordan is currently a member of the North America Athlete Leadership Committee.
Jason Plante, Special Olympics Indiana, is an athlete who competes in a number of sports with his favorite being golf. “When I found Special Olympics Golf, it transformed my life to what it is today.” He is Co-Chair of SONA Athlete Leadership Committee and has completed many Leadership Trainings within Special Olympics such as Introduction to Athlete Leadership, Photo and Videography and Advanced Messenger - Public Speaking. He is employed as a Respite / Service Provider with Community Ventures in Living.
Jason Gieschen, Special Olympics Nebraska, is an athlete and volunteer. He has a long list of participating sports behind him such as bowling, basketball, powerlifting, track and field, swimming, equestrian and volleyball with his favorite being powerlifting. He is also involved in Unified bowling and Unified golf. He has served on his Program Board of Directors and has experience in being interviewed by the media and delivering presentations. Jason is finishing his term as a 2014-2018 International Global Messenger. He is currently employed as an Office Clerk in the Educational Service.
Pam Langille, Special Olympics New Hampshire, competes in basketball but also has history of training and competing in Unified golf and Unified triathlons. She started with Special Olympics when she was 8 years old after hearing about it through her elementary school teacher. She has served on the Program Board of Directors and is finishing her term as a 2014-2018 International Global Messenger. Pam is currently employed as an Administrative Assistant at Special Olympics New Hampshire.
Tim Harris, Special Olympics New Mexico, has a lot of experience in the restaurant business. He owned his own restaurant titled Tim’s Place. He is a former member of the Program Board of Directors and is an accomplished public speaker. Over the years, Tim attended Special Olympics Youth Summits, Spread the World to End the Word events, and Capitol Hill Day. Tim enjoys playing sports and his current favorite is the pentathlon in Track & Field.
Julian English, Special Olympics Maryland, competes in many sports such as basketball, track, and cycling. Julian’s favorite sport is tennis and he is “getting better every day.” He has completed the Global Messenger Public Speaking Training, and has advocated for Special Olympics athletes on Capitol Hill Day. Julian has also enjoyed many other Special Olympics activities such as participating in Polar Plunge Fundraisers, giving formal presentations, being interviewed by the media, and leading the Athlete Oath.