FARMINGTON — A total of 174 participants signed up for this year’s spring Special Olympics held Tuesday at Mt. Blue High School, said Jerry Toothaker, chairman of the Jay AMVETS Special Olympics committee.
Nearly that many volunteers, some sporting bright blue T-shirts, police officers and high school honor students shared in the joy of competing along with the participants.
Students from Mt. Blue, Jay, Livermore Falls and SAD 58 along with participants from Victorian Villa, Navigator in Auburn, Work First and Maine Growth were included in the activities, he said.
Police officers from Jay, Farmington and Wilton along with AMVET volunteers, 70 honor students and many others helped with games, testing skills of running, broad-jumping and softball-throwing.
“Volunteers are everywhere,” he said, afraid he might forget to mention someone. “Look at the back of their (bright blue) T-shirts.”
Words adorned the back stating the reason they were there, he said. Each stated, “Volunteer — Hearts that care, hands that serve.”
Volunteers came in all ages as did participants.
Sally McCabe of Farmington volunteered her home-schooled sons as a public-service project. Toothaker found them a job pulling a small wagon of water around to participants.
Her philosophy on volunteering, “the return is more than what you give,” she said.
Staff from Otis Federal Credit Union in Jay cheered as participants went up to get their ribbons for the softball throw while Jay police officers helped with the broad jump.
While volunteers’ ages varied, so did the age of the participants as residents of Victorian Villa in Canton took a turn at the broad jump.
Strong Elementary teacher Kristy White not only cheered on her student, Lauren Elliott, she ran with her as the girl made her way down the track.
NorthStar Ambulance volunteers strolled the grounds prepared to help while volunteers fired up the barbecue to prepare lunch for everyone.