Japan: VP-8 Takes Part in 2012 Misawa Special Olympics

VP-8 Takes Part in 2012 Misawa Special Olympics

The “Fighting Tigers” of Patrol Squadron (VP) 8 once again took time out of their busy schedules, volunteering to help the Misawa community by participating in the 2012 Misawa Special Olympics, Sept. 15th.

The mission of Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.

Thirteen “Fighting Tigers” volunteered to help with different tasks including serving food, organizing activities, escorting Special Olympians, and tearing down equipment.

“It’s been a great experience to be able to work and meet such wonderful people,” said Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Apprentice Samatha Taylor. “I’ve worked with individuals with special needs before and it is always a blast, I’d love to do it again,” added Taylor who is originally from Dallas, TX.

More than 60 athletes from three different schools in the local community participated in the 23rd annual event held on Misawa Air Base.

VP-8 Sailors teamed up in pairs to escort a Special Olympian through various events, ensuring each athlete had a special day that they will remember for years to come. Events included basketball, tee ball, football throwing, running sprints and face painting.

Participants and volunteers were treated to burgers and hotdogs for lunch, and a Taiko Drum demonstration for entertainment.

“The kids got to run around, throw basketballs, hit baseballs, throw footballs and get their faces painted, it’s been a really awesome time,” said Aviation Electronics Technician Airman Allison Arroyo, who hails from Fresno, CA. “Just seeing them walking around with smiles on their faces, you knew today was a chance for them to get to have some fun. I think they really enjoyed themselves today, this has been a really good day and I’m glad I was able to be a part of the event.”

The Jacksonville, Fla. based Fighting Tigers are on a scheduled six-month deployment in support of U.S. 7th Fleet.

Naval Today Staff, September 19, 2012; Image: Navy