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When no one stepped up to take the reins, the program lapsed. By the time Schumacher and Fitzgerald started to ask about it, the Special Olympics had faded from public memory.

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"It just took somebody to say, 'Let's get this started,' " he said. "It's our program and we have to own it, and it's intimidating but it's good now because we have a direction."

"We weren't going to settle for it," Schumacher said. "It was unacceptable."

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While Marello might be willing to downplay his role, Schumacher and Fitzgerald are not. They said without him stepping forward and making it a priority for principals across the school district, the Special Olympics in Walton County wouldn't be Tods Loafers Price

"To me, it starts and dies with the schools," Schumacher said.

To help get even more people involved, they've organized a community meeting next week at Freeport High School so they can help ensure the program begins sooner rather than later.

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When he heard about the effort, Mims gladly accepted the suggestion to use the Torch Run on March 28 to increase public awareness even more.

The county had a Special Olympics program until about two years ago when the person who oversaw it retired, said Danielle Spears, the director of public relations for Special Olympics Florida.

"I hope it's a building process," Mims said. "The Special Olympics is such a great opportunity for a lot of people."

"It just took somebody to say, 'Let's get this started,' " he said. "It's our program and we have to own it, and it's intimidating but it's good now because we have a direction."

The county had a Special Olympics program until about two years ago when the person who oversaw it retired, said Danielle Spears, the director of public relations for Special Olympics Florida.

where it is now.

The timeline isn't written in stone yet, but organizers already are planning a second meeting in April and a field day to kick off the program, Fitzgerald said.

After settling for ifs and maybes for too long, the county is well on its way to hosting events and training intellectually disabled athletes through the internationally recognized program, said Mike Schumacher, a parent and recent Walton County transplant who is leading the resurgence with fellow parent Jennifer Fitzgerald.

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Once it's under way, Schumacher said he hopes the Special Olympics will "mushroom out" and start a variety of other programs for people with disabilities, from baseball leagues to artistic ventures.

FREEPORT It took two determined parents and a passionate educator, but the Special Olympics will return to Walton County.

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They ran into a few brick walls before finding two people who have helped propel the dream forward: Eugene Mims, a local correctional probation specialist, and Charlie Marello, the principal of their children's middle school.

"We were completely lost at times," Fitzgerald said. "I think (Olivia will) be totally excited to have something she can do and work towards so it's just my motivation."

Fitzgerald.

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Hogan Rebel Shop Online

"There was absolutely no way I was not going to be involved," the Emerald Coast Middle School principal said. "It's something that I'm extremely passionate about, but to tell you the truth, I'm just a vessel."

FREEPORT It took two determined parents and a passionate educator, but the Special Olympics will return to Walton County.

"It's onward," she said. Wednesday at Freeport High School.

When no one stepped up to take the reins, the program lapsed. By the time Schumacher and Fitzgerald started to ask about it, the Special Olympics had faded from public memory.

They also asked Marello if he could help.

After settling for ifs and maybes for too long, the county is well on its way to hosting events and training intellectually disabled athletes through the internationally recognized program, said Mike Schumacher, a parent and recent Walton County transplant who is leading the resurgence with fellow parent Jennifer Hogan Trainers Mens

Rather than wait for more parents to come forward, Fitzgerald and Schumacher started reaching out to people they thought could help.

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Special Olympics set to return to Hogan Rebel Shop Online Walton County

Both parents were told repeatedly that they could Hermes Slippers Review

enroll their children in Special Olympics programs in neighboring Okaloosa or Bay counties. in Virginia and was accustomed to programs for his autistic son Jake with a passion for basketball. And it was an insurmountable hurdle for single working mother Fitzgerald, who simply couldn't drive her daughter Olivia, who has Down syndrome, to the other counties.

In Mims they found a champion for the cause who had long raised awareness and money in the community for the Special Olympics with a law enforcement run.

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