CHARLOTTETOWN – It was a night of celebration at Special Olympics P.E.I.’s annual awards ceremony in Charlottetown recently.
Athletes, coaches, volunteers and supporters were recognized for their accomplishments and contributions to the organization over the past year. Two of the big winners were Roy Paynter and Jennifer Hickox, who were introduced as the P.E.I. Mutual Insurance Company athletes of the year.
A media release issued by Special Olympics P.E.I. noted that Paynter “seemed to really come into his own” at the 2018 National Summer Games in Antigonish, N.S., where he won six medals in swimming.
Paynter, who is from Kensington and is very supportive of his teammates, was recently named to Team Canada for the 2019 World Summer Games in Abu Dhabi in March.
Hickox, who calls Charlottetown home, is involved with the competitive bocce, bowling, floor hockey and community sports programs in Charlottetown.
She earned a gold medal in bocce at the 2018 National Summer Games.
The media release praised Hickox’s attitude and work ethic, noting she often assists fellow athletes who may need extra support.
“She shows determination to improve herself, and pays great attention to instructions from her coaches,” said the release.
Dr. Frank Hayden Award
Oliver Venneman of Summerside was presented with the Dr. Frank Hayden Award, named in honour of the founder of Special Olympics in Canada.
Venneman is a grassroots athlete and participates in the Summerside bowling and basketball programs. He also participated in the Law Enforcement Torch Run Truck Convoy, and is a supporter of the Polar Plunge.
Venneman is active in his community, and is eager to participate in events. He is described as a joy to his coaches and volunteers, and makes everyone feel very appreciated.
Heidi Mallett of Alberton was announced as the recipient of the ADL Spirit Award.
Mallett, an athlete and volunteer, is praised for being sensitive to the needs of others, and is always looking for a way to help fellow athletes. She never misses an opportunity to attend SOPEI events and competitions, and is often an enthusiastic spectator or an engaged competitor.
50th anniversary awards
To celebrate the 50th year of Special Olympics worldwide, Special Olympics Canada and its chapters are recognizing and celebrating individuals and sponsors who have made a significant contribution to the growth of the organization provincially, nationally and internationally during this time. Five individuals from P.E.I. were recognized with 50th Anniversary Commemorative Awards in four categories. The recipients were:
Champion – Paul Phillips.
Stars – CY Holland and Jodi Harper.
Builder – Cecil Villard.
Partner – P.E.I. Mutual Insurance Company.
Phillips, who is from Summerside, has been a Special Olympics athlete for 27 years. He has participated in athletics, floor hockey, fivepin bowling, tenpin bowling and curling. The 2018 bowling championships were Phillips’s seventh National Games.
Phillips is also well known as the co-emcee of the Special Olympics Festival for the past 20 years. He was inducted into the Special Olympics P.E.I. Hall of Fame in 2012, and was also recognized for his work in the community as a recipient of the Queen’s Jubilee Medal in 2012.
Phillips, a well-respected member of the community, is described as an enthusiastic member of the athlete leadership team on P.E.I., and is an athlete mentor with the Summerside athletics program.
Special Olympics P.E.I. award winners:
P.E.I. Mutual Insurance Company male athlete of the year – Roy Paynter (Kensington).
P.E.I. Mutual Insurance Company female athlete of the year – Jennifer Hickox (Charlottetown).
Dr. Frank Hayden Award – Oliver Venneman (Summerside).
Department of Health and Wellness Sport Volunteer Award – Beth Muggah (Charlottetown).
President’s Award – Games organizing committee of 2018 Special Olympics Canada bowling championships.
Facility of the year – Synergy Fitness and Nutrition (Charlottetown).
David Andrew Memorial Award – Inclusions East (Montague).
Maritime Electric male coach of the year – Rickey Burns (Charlottetown).
Maritime Electric female coach of the year – Sarah Profitt-Wagner (York).