Ken the “Grinch” Juber isn’t really grinchy at all. He loved delighting all the athletes who were being honored at the Thirteenth Annual Snowflake Ball held at the Eureka on Sunday, Dec. 15. The Grinch slunk among them during the ceremony trying hard as he might, couldn’t stop the Christmas spirit or diminish the love that filled the room all evening. Photo by Teri Nehrenz

For all the different special abilities they possess, the one common among them all is their ability to love.

The Mesquite Special Olympics local program was honored at the 13th Annual Snowflake Ball on Sunday Dec. 15, 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. Athletes were the perfect hosts and hostesses, full of Christmas spirit, gratitude and love.

There were plenty of hugs, smiles and thanks spread around to some very special people. Volunteers, sponsors, supporter and athletes were treated to an Italian dinner, entertainment and one very Grinchy fellow who had some wonderfully, awful ideas. The Grinch, played by Ken Juber, slinked, slanked and slunk all around the ballroom, surprising, delighting and even pestering some guests all evening long. Tried as he may, he couldn’t stop good things from coming to all the wonderful althetes, sponsors, supporters and volunteers.

The ceremony began by honoring those athletes who travel to Las Vegas and Reno to compete in regional competitions in bocce, basketball, track and field, bowling and, for the first time in years, aquatics.

Debbie Dorn, Mesquite Special Olympics director, listed the many accomplishments of the two basketball teams who brought home gold medals. Bocce teams brought home three team gold medals and two teams brought home silver medals. Track and field teams brought home an impressive 17 gold medals, 13 silver and four bronze medals. Aquatic teams brought home 11 gold medals and four silver. Bowling is the most popular sport with the athletes and together 23 athletes brought home 10 gold medals, seven silver medals and seven bronze along with a variety of ribbons.

The Thirteenth Annual Snowflake Ball held at the Eureka on Sunday, Dec. 15, began by honoring those athletes who travel to Las Vegas and Reno to compete in regional competitions in Bocce, Basketball, Track & Field, Bowling and, for the first time in years, aquatics. Photo by Teri Nehrenz

Individual athletes were also honored for their participation and medals won in aquatics and track and field; there were many.

Dorn also spoke of the variety of achievements for the Special Olympics Teams fund-raising events and the activities they’ve participated in throughout the year, thanking each of the many sponsors and volunteers that made all of these things happen for the athletes; without them, Special Olympics in Mesquite wouldn’t be going this strong after 17 years.

Dorn quoted a saying, “To find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others.” “Our volunteers do just that, may volunteering for more than one event. Our volunteers are invaluable and great hands on deck; especially when we travel with the athletes,” Dorn said.

Dorn was especially excited to announce that Mesquite is going to be the new “Go to” spot for the Annual Polar Plunges, a major fundraising event for Special Olympics. Because the Polar Plunge was so successful in Mesquite last year, the Las Vegas event will move to Mesquite in 2020; the Rising Star Sports Ranch is set to host the event.

For more information about the program, participating in an event, volunteering or donating, contact Dorn at 435-229-8540 or Brenda Bowler at 702-207-9615.