By Kirk Starratt
He is one in a million.
Kentville’s own Special Olympics champion will be representing Nova Scotia Law Enforcement Torch Run team at the World Special Olympic Games in South Korea later this month.
Philip Brown, who won his 98th Special Olympics medal in November, is one of only 10 athletes from around the world selected from more than a million to be placed on the team. Brown, who read two poems to Kings County councillors as part of a recent presentation, said he has been involved in the program for 19 years and is very proud to be selected as a member of the torch run team.
“We don’t need pay cheques, it’s all done from the heart,” Brown said.
Council voted in favour of making a $500 donation to help defray the cost of sending Brown to the event, which is about $4,000 per athlete. The motion will be up for final approval Jan. 8. Kentville Police Chief Mark Mander, also a member of the torch run team, said law enforcement officers want to encourage involvement in Special Olympics.
“They show us quite a bit,” he said of the athletes. “It’s awe inspiring.”
Mander said the group would be visiting communities throughout South Korea, making presentations to schools and local officials. The torch run covers the cost of Mander’s trip and the host group covers the cost for athletes. However, the financial burden on the host is great and they ask each participating team do some local fundraising. Mander got the ball rolling with his own $100 donation in memory of his father. A polar plunge was among the local fundraising efforts.
Mander said the run is a mirror image of the Olympic games torch run, but also focuses on providing the athlete runners an opportunity of a lifetime while raising awareness and funds for Special Olympics.
The games run from Jan. 29 to Feb. 5.
By the numbers…
- The Law Enforcement Torch Run 2013 Korea Final Leg Team has 133 members.
- They include 85 law enforcement runners, 10 Special Olympics athletes; 10 running team leaders, 11 council support team members, 13 Korea GOC support team members, three documentation team members and one team captain.
- Special Olympics is an international program of year-round sports training and athletic competition for more than one million children and adults with intellectual disabilities.
- In Canada, Special Olympics programs are established in all 10 provinces and two of the three territories.
- More than 32,000 people participate in the programs with 14,600 volunteers and more than 12,000 trained coaches.