LIVERMORE — Competing at the Special Olympics World Games in Berlin, Germany, was a dream come true for Trent Paradis thanks to the efforts of area organizations.

Trent Paradis was recognized as being the only athlete from Maine to participate at the Special Olympics World Games in Germany in June during a Livermore/Livermore Falls Historical Society meeting July 25 at North Livermore Baptist Church in Livermore. Also seen from left are Gary Desjardins, Franklin County Special Olympics area manager; Mark Capano, Maine Special Olympics program manager; and Ryan Souther, Franklin County Special Olympics treasurer. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

Paradis grew up in Jay, now lives in Lewiston. He was the only Maine athlete representing Team USA June 17-25 at the games.

“Like they say, it takes a village to raise a child – but in this case an amazing 36 year old young man,” Gary Desjardins, Franklin County Special Olympics area manager said Tuesday afternoon, July 25, during a meeting of the Livermore/Livermore Falls Historical Society that recognized Trent and his accomplishments at North Livermore Baptist Church in Livermore.

Jay VFW Auxiliary member Lynne Dunton suggested holding a kick-off supper to raise money for Trent’s trip, Desjardins said. The buffet supper with a silent auction and regular auction was held May 29 at the AMVETS post in Jay, was very successful, he noted.

“A lot of people belong to more than one organization, we all got together,” Desjardins stated. “Everywhere I went to raise money, I couldn’t believe how many people knew Trent.”

Trent lives in his own apartment, is part of a group through John Murphy homes, Desjardins noted. Trent’s mom, Cynthia Paradis says he has been competing since the age of six, Desjardins said, noting Trent also skies and golfs. “He is a man of few words,” he added.


“In the summer games at Orono in 2022, Trent competed in shot put and 100 meter, which made him eligible to apply for Team USA,” Desjardins said. In September Trent received an invitation to join the team, later traveled to San Antonio, Texas, to qualify – the only Maine athlete to be chosen, he noted.

“I was so proud,” Trent said when asked how being the only athlete from Maine felt, agreed it was a dream come true.

Trent spent the winter training for shot put with his dad, Richard Paradis, training for running at the Bates college track, Desjardins said. When he asked if all the hard work paid off, Trent replied, “Yes.”

Ellie Hopkins and Gary Desjardins look at an article about Trent Paradis representing Maine at the Special Olympics World Games earlier this summer during a Livermore/Livermore Falls Historical Society meeting Tuesday, July 25, at North Livermore Baptist Church in Livermore. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

In Berlin Trent competed with 7,000 athletes from 170 countries, Desjardins said. He came in fifth in shot put with a throw of 4.21 meters, Desjardins noted, adding, “You had excellent form, you had it down.”

Trent finished sixth in the 100 meter dash with a time of 23:80; was a captain on the 4 X 100 meter relay with a final time of 1:38.35, Desjardins noted.

“Off the charts,” Trent answered when asked how that felt as captain.


Livermore/Livermore Falls Historical Society co-President Muriel Bowerman at left congratulates Trent Paradis for his accomplishments during a meeting Tuesday, July 25, at North Livermore Baptist Church in Livermore. Also seen is Trent’s mom, Cynthia Paradis. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

Trent told a German reporter it was a dream of his to be an international athlete for Special Olympics, Desjardin said.

“You are an awesome young man,” he noted. “You have made your parents, town, community and state very proud.”

Peggy Stires of Livermore looks up, Tuesday afternoon, July 25, at North Livermore Baptist Church in Livermore. She had been looking at a display about the Special Olympics World Games which Trent Paradis competed in earlier this summer. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

Mark Capano, program director for Maine Special Olympics said Trent was the reason he and his wife, Christina, went to Germany on their own nickel. Capano met Trent’s roommate, Kenneth from Washington, who was so excited, said, “This is my new best friend. We do everything together.”

“It is still emotional for me,” Capano said. “The world was there, 20,000 volunteers. You don’t race against athletes just from Maine or America, you could race against someone from Zimbabwe or Chile.

Bill Groder at right shakes hands with Trent Paradis Tuesday afternoon, July 25, at North Livermore Baptist Church in Livermore. Also seen is Ken Wiley. Wilton Lions Club members Groder and Wiley were from one local organization that supported Trent’s trip to Germany to compete at Special Olympics World Games in June. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

“It is the top of the pyramid for an athlete to compete with Team USA. It is an amazing opportunity. Trent is fortunate to compete in area, state, USA and world games. I couldn’t be more proud of him.”

Capano also noted the phenomenal support Trent received.


Local organizations raised funds for Trent’s parents to fly to Germany and other expenses, Desjardins said. The State of Maine was charged $6,000 to send Trent to Germany, he noted. A check for the $12,000 left from the locally raised funds was given to Capano for Maine Special Olympics.

Local organizations supporting Trent’s trip to Germany included the Franklin County Special Olympics Committee, Otis Federal Credit Union, Jay AmVets and its auxiliary, Jay VFW and its auxiliary, Livermore/Livermore Falls Historical Society, North Livermore Baptist Church, Wilton Lions Club and Dina Goldsmith’s adult group Team Opportunity.

“Trent, you are an awesome young man and a pleasure to meet,” Desjardins said. “We are all proud of you.”

During an ice cream social afterwards, Capano explained Special Olympics teaches life skills, the sports training for competition is every bit as good as that for high school, college or professional organizations.

“Everyone has a coach,” he said. “We set them up to succeed. Special Olympics’ motto is, ‘Let me win, but if I can’t, let me be brave in the attempt.’ Every athlete has to train. I don’t care if an athlete comes in first or last so long as they do their best.”

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