The Vikings have enjoyed a wonderful community partnership with Special Olympics Minnesota (SOM) for many years. At this year’s SOM Summer Games, SOM recognized this partnership during its “Champions” Luncheon.
Dave Dorn, president of SOM, presented Vikings Executive Director of Community Relations Brad Madson with the “Champions” award.
“There is a unique bond between the Special Olympic athletes and our players,” stated Madson, who has worked with SOM for 15 years. “I’ve witnessed it firsthand. Sure the athletes enjoy interacting with our players, but our players not only relate to the athletes as competitors, but are also inspired through the sheer joy and determination the athletes demonstrate.”
After acknowledging the athletes, Madson saluted all of the 300 plus volunteers in attendance.
“Seeing an athlete light up when you place their medal around their neck provides all of the volunteers with such a warm feeling,” Madson said, “…and to cheer on an athlete striving to finish a race in such warm conditions, well, there isn’t a more rewarding experience and I thank you all for supporting such a terrific cause.”
A strong contingent of Vikings personnel attended the festivities, including: Lester Bagley, vice president of public affairs; Vikings legends Chuck Foreman, Everett Lindsay and John Turner; and current players Jerome Simpson and Blair Walsh.
Simpson and Walsh are no strangers to SOM, having been two of the “coaches” at the Vikings/SOM Punt, Pass and Kick clinic held on June 6 after one of the team’s offseason practices. This past winter, QB Christian Ponder participated in the SOM Polar Bear Plunge at Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis.
Also recognized as “Champions” at the luncheon were Fox 9 News and Vice President/General Manager Carol Rueppel as well as SOM athlete Danielle Liebl.
If you would like to volunteer or learn more about Special Olympics Minnesota, visit specialolympicsminnesota.org
Tags: Blair Walsh, Jerome Simpson
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