‘Hitting a homerun’ with special friends


Laura Johnson, left, rounds second base while Antonio Sweat, center, tries to take third base as Capt. Brad Wilson of the Central Fire Dept. tries to catch the ball. A team from the Anderson County Disability and Special Needs Board played the Central Fire Dept. team Sept. 24 at Southern Wesleyan University. “Unite the Community” was a softball invitational where teams representing disabilities and special needs boards from Pickens and Anderson counties participated, as well as the fire department.


Photos courtesy of Southern Wesleyan University

The Warrior Mascot greets Greg Hester with the Pickens County team during “Unite the Community,” a softball invitational that took place Sept. 24 at Southern Wesleyan University in Central with teams from disabilities and special needs boards in Pickens and Anderson counties.


Photos courtesy of Southern Wesleyan University

Teams representing the Pickens County Board of Disabilities and Special Needs, left, and Anderson County Disabilities and Special Needs Board, right, pose for a group photo during “Unite the Community,” a softball invitational that took place Sept. 24 at Southern Wesleyan University in Central.


Photos courtesy of Southern Wesleyan University

CENTRAL – On a sunny Saturday, teams from Pickens and Anderson county Disabilities and Special Needs communities joined area law enforcement and area fire departments at Southern Wesleyan University in Central for a day of softball and a celebration of the special abilities of this special population.

“Unite the Community” was the theme for the first softball invitational, taking place Sept. 24 at Southern Wesleyan’s Varsity Field. Teams from the Pickens County Board of Disabilities and Special Needs, Anderson County Disabilities and Special Needs Board, and the Central Department got together for some friendly competition where winning seemed to be less of a big deal than just having fun on the ballfield. Also supporting the event was Bowers Emergency Services.

“What an absolute delight it has been to host this “Unite the Community” Softball Invitational Tournament,” said Dr. Lisa McWherter, Southern Wesleyan’s vice president for advancement. “Sharing the day with our community has brought our friends with special abilities and area first responders much closer together. Southern Wesleyan University believes strongly in being a contagiously generous institution and getting the opportunity to be generous with time, facilities and resources is such a blessing.”

The SWU Warrior Mascot was on hand to greet players and their guests with an encouraging hug or a high five. Southern Wesleyan University President Todd Voss also greeted the event’s attendees.

Elaine Thena, executive director for Pickens County Disabilities and Special Needs, said that excitement has been building among those her agency serves.

“They’ve been looking forward to this for a long time and they want to do this every year. It means a lot to them,” said Thena, noting that they would like to see the invitational become an annual event.

According to Tyler Rex, executive director of Anderson County Disabilities and Special Needs Board, events like this are about quality of life for those in the special needs community.

“Participating is what we’re striving for to increase the quality of life for everyone, our special needs friends included,” Rex said.

Central Fire Chief Ed Reynolds and his team enjoyed their afternoon game vs. the Anderson team.

“Seeing the parents and the crowds there made you feel good,” Reynolds said, adding that they hope to return with a team for the next softball invitational.

All proceeds supported the Pickens County Board of Disabilities and Special Needs Day Program activities. For details, contact Heather Matthews, PCBDSN activities coordinator at (864) 644-2507 or email hmatthews@pcbdsn.org.

The event was organized through Southern Wesleyan’s Advancement Office. Teams interested in playing next year can contact Dr. Lisa McWherter, vice president for advancement, at lmcwherter@swu.edu or call (864) 644-5006.

Laura Johnson, left, rounds second base while Antonio Sweat, center, tries to take third base as Capt. Brad Wilson of the Central Fire Dept. tries to catch the ball. A team from the Anderson County Disability and Special Needs Board played the Central Fire Dept. team Sept. 24 at Southern Wesleyan University. “Unite the Community” was a softball invitational where teams representing disabilities and special needs boards from Pickens and Anderson counties participated, as well as the fire department.
http://pickenssentinel.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/web1_swuhomerun01.jpgLaura Johnson, left, rounds second base while Antonio Sweat, center, tries to take third base as Capt. Brad Wilson of the Central Fire Dept. tries to catch the ball. A team from the Anderson County Disability and Special Needs Board played the Central Fire Dept. team Sept. 24 at Southern Wesleyan University. “Unite the Community” was a softball invitational where teams representing disabilities and special needs boards from Pickens and Anderson counties participated, as well as the fire department. Photos courtesy of Southern Wesleyan University

The Warrior Mascot greets Greg Hester with the Pickens County team during “Unite the Community,” a softball invitational that took place Sept. 24 at Southern Wesleyan University in Central with teams from disabilities and special needs boards in Pickens and Anderson counties.
http://pickenssentinel.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/web1_swuhomerun02.jpgThe Warrior Mascot greets Greg Hester with the Pickens County team during “Unite the Community,” a softball invitational that took place Sept. 24 at Southern Wesleyan University in Central with teams from disabilities and special needs boards in Pickens and Anderson counties. Photos courtesy of Southern Wesleyan University

Teams representing the Pickens County Board of Disabilities and Special Needs, left, and Anderson County Disabilities and Special Needs Board, right, pose for a group photo during “Unite the Community,” a softball invitational that took place Sept. 24 at Southern Wesleyan University in Central.
http://pickenssentinel.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/web1_swuhomerun03.jpgTeams representing the Pickens County Board of Disabilities and Special Needs, left, and Anderson County Disabilities and Special Needs Board, right, pose for a group photo during “Unite the Community,” a softball invitational that took place Sept. 24 at Southern Wesleyan University in Central. Photos courtesy of Southern Wesleyan University

This story courtesy of Southern Wesleyan University.

This story courtesy of Southern Wesleyan University.

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