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 firstname.lastname@example.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 email@example.com or call (864) 644-5006.
This story courtesy of Southern Wesleyan University.