Bethesda Magazine | November-December 2017

Champions Together – A Celebration of Special Olympics Maryland

Hosted By Mike Barnes and Joan Pollitt

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Former Congressman Mike Barnes, his daughter Garrie Barnes, and his wife Joan Pollitt hosted “Champions Together—Celebrating Special Olympics Maryland” at their Chevy Chase home on Oct. 12.

Garrie, a Special Olympics athlete, spoke about courage and triumph as she shared her experience as an open-water swimmer and competitive kayaker. She demonstrated confidence that she can actively pursue opportunities that interest her.

Mike told the gathering of families, friends, coaches and supporters about the transformative power of Special Olympics and its positive impact on Garrie and their family.

Special Olympics International CEO Mary Davis noted that Montgomery County holds a significant place in the history of Special Olympics. The late Eunice Kennedy Shriver, who founded Special Olympics, hosted sport camps for people with intellectual disabilities at Timberlawn starting in 1962 and later in Potomac as a forerunner to the first World Games in Chicago in 1968.

SOMD CEO Jim Schmutz said Special Olympics Maryland serves 7,549 athletes and is working to have 20,000 active athletes by 2025.

He introduced four athletes who will represent Montgomery County and Maryland on a soccer team in July at the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle. Schmutz said athletes such as Garrie and the soccer players play key leadership roles in creating an interactive, inclusive world of dignity and respect where opportunity is not limited by disability.