The Mesquite Special Olympics local program was honored at the 10th Annual Snowflake Ball on Sunday Dec. 20 that was hosted at the Eureka Casino Grand Canyon Room. There were almost 100 athletes, their parents, major sponsors during the year and vendors who contribute to Special Olympics for dinner and awards ceremony.

The Mesquite local chapter has been busy again this year competing in basketball, bocce ball and bowling practices and tournaments. The basketball team had 13 players this year and they won two gold medals in their division. In April, the bocce ball regional tournament was back in Las Vegas and Mesquite’s team of 15 athletes took home a lot of individual, doubles and team gold and silver medals.

In November the regional bowling tournament in Las Vegas had the largest number of athletes with 21 competing in individual awards in the morning session and in the afternoon with doubles sessions.

One of the major sponsors during the year is the Knights of Columbus who the Special Olympics help with their golf tournament in May and their Tootsie Roll drive in October. The Knights donated a check to Special Olympics Nevada Director Harry Mong from the proceeds from the Tootsie Roll drive.

The highlight of the evening was Ralph Morocco who is a Special Olympics Coach and past local program coordinator. He donated $5,000 to Mong who had come down from the Vegas office. Morocco also donated $10,000 to the local program for future activities and then announced that Special Olympics Mesquite Chapter had donated $100 on behalf of each athlete (which was over $2,000) to the local Salvation Army Toys for Tots program.

Morocco has been a real inspiration during his many years of donating time, energy and now money for the local Special Olympic program.

After Thank You plaques were given out to the vendors, 22 athletes were recognized individually by Mong and others from the Las Vegas Office. Jered Nacarrato was named “Athlete of the Year” for bowling, basketball and bocce ball participation. Also recognized were former local program directors, Reashell and Troy Nicol, with their daughter Treashell and son Devon, who were able to attend this year.

Congratulations to all of the athletes, coaches, volunteers, caregivers and those who contribute their time and talents to Mesquite’s local program. Good luck in 2016.