More than 100 Eastern students volunteered for the 34th Annual Windham Invitational Special Olympics Swim Meet, held on March 9 at Windham High School. According to Eastern Chemistry Professor Charles Wynn, who has been the meet director for 18 years, 180 athletes with disabilities from Connecticut and Massachusetts competed in the meet.
"Volunteers are the backbone of this event," said Wynn, "and continue to make this event the largest and most successful Special Olympics Swim Meet in Connecticut. Volunteers are paired with their own special partner for the day, making sure athletes get to their registered events, cheer them on, and get them involved in activities when they are not swimming."
Not all of the participants competed. "I wanted to help those very special Olympians enjoy the meet even if they were not in the water," said Chris Herman, a junior from Willimantic majoring in Communication. "For eight hours, my responsibilities and time were spent taking care of a group of severely mentally challenged people. They didn't compete, but they did participate in other activities, and I really enjoyed helping out wherever I could. It helped me as well, as I reflected afterwards on what a difference we all could make in someone's life if we just took the time to do so."