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January 2020 Winners

Savannah Overturf
Female Athlete of the Month

Savannah has been competing for Special Olympics Colorado for seven years and has competed in basketball, softball, volleyball, and swimming. This year, she’s hoping to get involved with track and field. “I enjoy so many things about Special Olympics. I feel like I have a family and they support me and show me new skills in sports,” says Savannah. “They also give me the time I need to challenge myself.”

Recently, Savannah was encouraged by a professor of public speaking at CSU to apply to speak at TEDx in Grand Junction this upcoming year. Savannah knew that it was very unlikely that she would get an audition, but she applied anyway with a talk called, “Autism Through My Eyes.”

“I wanted to use my life’s story using slam poetry to educate others on what someone on the spectrum is fully capable of achieving.” After applying, Savannah received an email asking her to audition. While she was extremely excited, she wanted to remember that they were only choosing 16 speakers for the event. She auditioned through video chat and eventually was selected as one of the 16 speakers! “I knew that I owed this to my support systems and one of them was Special Olympics.”

Congratulations, Savy, on being recognized as our Female Athlete of the Month and good luck at TEDx!

 

 

Dean Casebolt
Male Athlete of the Month

Dean has been a Special Olympics Colorado athlete for 18 years and first started competing in bowling. He also competes in bowling, skiing, swimming, bocce, and powerlifting.

Special Olympics means a lot to Dean because it connects him to his mom; she encouraged Dean to get involved before passing away .

Dean has created amazing memories through Special Olympics Colorado. In 2018, he traveled to Seattle for the Special Olympics USA Games as part of Team Colorado. He competed in bowling and helped his team bring home the gold!

Dean’s main goal is to help as many people as possible. “Special Olympics really turned my life around,” says Dean.

Congratulations, Dean on being nominated as the Male Athlete of the Month!

 

Mike with his son, Troy

Mike Gagliardi
Coach of the Month

Mike is a kind, reliable, and outgoing individual who participates in multiple sports not only as a coach but an athlete parent. Mike’s passion and love for Special Olympics is unmeasurable as he continues to grow the organization within the community and his teams. He currently coaches the Pikes Peak Shredders Snowboarding Team

He has been coaching for Special Olympics Colorado for five years and currently coaches snowboarding. In the past, he’s also coached flag football and soccer.

One of his favorite memories was when his son, Troy, won his first gold medal in snowboarding. “His smile was the best, he was glowing!” He also fondly remembers when his soccer team, the Colorado Springs Raptors, won their first gold medal at State Summer Games. Mike explains that his team had overcome so much and it was a great moment watching his athletes’ faces as they received their medals.

“I love working with the amazing SOCO athletes and Unified Partners and helping them have fun playing sports. My family has made so many good friends in the SOCO community and we enjoy being a part of it.”

Congratulations, Mike! We’re very happy to recognize you as January’s Coach of the Month!

 

 

Lydia (left) and Carly (right) Triplett

The Triplett Family
Family of the Month

Special Olympics Colorado athletes, Lydia and Carly, along with their parents Matt and Jackie, have been very involved with the Young Athletes Program for two years. They’ve participated in basketball, track, soccer, tee-ball, flag football, tennis, cycling, and swimming. They currently participate in all SOCO events on the Spectrum Skyhawks team.

SOCO has opened many doors for the Triplett family. In the last few years, Lydia has been able to participate in the Avalanche Charity Brunch, speak at State Summer Games, play with the Broncos at the All-Ability Clinic, and take part in the Hall of Fame Luncheon.

Through Special Olympics Colorado, the Triplett family has seen their daughter improve her skills and confidence.  She has also developed great friendships through the Young Athletes Program. “Lydia also loved her Coach Denise and has really embraced listening and learning from her!”

We’re so happy to have the Triplett Family as part of our SOCO Family! Congratulations on your recognition as January’s Family of the Month!

 

Diane (on the right) with her athletes at World Winter Games 2017 in Schladming, Austria.

Diane Mikulis
Volunteer of the Month

We are thrilled to have Diane as part of our SOCO family. With nearly 37 years of experience with Special Olympics in a variety of roles, Diane’s knowledge, passion, and dedication to the mission and athletes is unrivaled. Since moving to Colorado from Maryland, she has been instrumental in creating awareness, rallying support, and recruiting volunteers. Her enthusiasm is contagious and with a mindset of growth, she works diligently with staff to expand programming opportunities in Summit County.

When she moved to Colorado last year, Diane began volunteering for State Summer Games, as well as other competitions before she moved on to coaching. While in Maryland, she coached alpine skiing for 15 years, including at 3 World Winter Games! She’s also coached tennis for 10 years.

While still new to Colorado, Diane says she already has had many great experiences with Special Olympics Colorado—mostly on the ski slopes! “I’m looking forward to helping expand the sports offered to our athletes in Summit County and creating greater awareness in the community,” says Diane.

 

Tito’s Handmade Vodka
Community Partner of the Month

Our Community Partner of the Month is Tito’s Handmade Vodka. Tito’s was the 2019 Young Professionals Board Official Beverage Partner but went far above and beyond this role for Special Olympics Colorado. Taylor Barone with Tito’s is always willing and excited to support Special Olympics Colorado through not only sponsorship but also donating products for various events. In addition, she personally serves on the Young Professionals Board.

You may have seen Tito’s hot chocolate in the VIP area of our 2019 Denver Polar Plunge, bottles of Tito’s on the liquor wall at the LETR International Conference, a range of Tito’s products in prize bags at Pins for a Purpose and Trick or Trivia, or the stunning Tito’s Tree at in the Festival of Trees at the SOCO Snow Ball. Tito’s is a valued partner and Special Olympics Colorado is so grateful for their support!