By Sue Tiffin
Published Sept. 14 2017
A record number of people raised a record amount of funding and awareness for the Haliburton County Red Wolves on Sept. 9 as 21 athletes together with their friends family members and OPP officers held a Special Olympics torch run parade through Haliburton Kinmount and Minden villages.
Just over $1000 was raised during the cross-county parade events funds that support more than 35 athletes' participation in Special Olympics-designated sports like bowling curling softball and golf.
After the parade Ross Anderson Red Wolves bowler and the team’s oldest athlete at 72 sat and ate ice cream with his girlfriend fellow bowler Robin Fletcher and Caitlin Peacock who at 19 is the youngest athlete on the team and bowls as well as plays shuffleboard.
“I like sports” said Anderson. “I started when I was 19. I was a kid then.”
Anderson said he used to bowl at the Carnarvon bowling alley then bowled in Peterborough Orillia and Minden.
“It’s a good sport it’s fun” he said. Motioning to Fletcher he said “she beat me last week.”
“I knew he was going to say that” replied Fletcher.
Dawn Piercey an Algonquin Highlands resident golfs curls and bowls as a Special Olympian and also plays shuffleboard.
“You need exercise” she said. “You don’t want to stay in the house all the time. It feels better.”
Piercey from her lawn chair set up at the post-parade barbecue in Rotary Park said the day was beautiful with perfect rain-free weather for the annual event.
“I like this weather” she said. “It’s not too hot and not too cool.”
She spoke proudly of the banner the Red Wolves were awarded recently for their efforts in curling. She’s a skip on the team.
“Dawn teaches me how to be the best athlete” said Brent Leffering of Kinmount who is the lead on the Red Wolves curling team. “Thanks to her we were the champions. We worked so hard to get that banner.”
Leffering curls golfs and bowls as well as plays softball and loves to be active for a pretty clear reason.
“Because we all do – we are the athletes” he said.
Golfing and curling athlete Trevor Brauer who went to the provincial summer games as a golfer said he’s been participating in the Special Olympics since 2005.
“Sports are a great way to meet new people and new friends” he said.
For Brauer the parade went off without a hitch after being delayed twice for weather and scheduling. He was grateful to the parents community members like the OPP and volunteers who help support the athletes year-round and who help to make the parade happen.
“It gives a great chance for people to learn more about each other” he said. “Everything comes together.”
Special Olympics Ontario is a not-for-profit organization that works to support people with intellectual disability through sport including through sports training and competition opportunities.
The Red Wolves eighth annual bowl-a-thon is planned for Oct. 28 at The Fast Lane in Minden. Call Rick at 705-457-8855 to participate or sponsor an athlete.