A local special needs parks and recreation organization is commemorating some of its most accomplished athletes with a new Wall of Fame.
The South East Association for Special Parks and Recreation honored 11 athletes from the past 40 years who made the Special Olympics’ World or USA Games. Eight of the 11 athletes and their families came together Oct. 30 during a special ceremony, where each shared memories of their time competing and in SEASPAR, including the family of one athlete who died.
Susan Friend, the executive director of the organization, called the day a great celebration of their accomplishments and of the organization’s 40 years of service.
“They were all very grateful to come together,” she said. “It was incredibly [important] for all of us to make sure these people’s achievements were not forgotten, no matter how many years go by, especially after they’ve been so involved and distinguished themselves.”
Competitors represented the area in a variety of different events, including basketball, golf, volleyball, tennis and skiing – all activities included in SEASPAR’s range of offerings drawing 1,800 participants annually.
The organization’s building in Downers Grove now holds commemorative plaques for each competitor and details their success in their given sports.
Friend said honorees all demonstrated not only athletic ability, but also great sportsmanship and teamwork for them to be considered for the higher level of competition.
Now, all who visit will be able to appreciate the hard work and dedication each athlete put toward their chosen sports.
“We want them to know we have some very special people in our midst that have excelled in their chosen line of work and in their life,” she said.
To learn more about the South East Association for Special Parks and Recreation organization, including the ways it has celebrated its 40th anniversary, visit seaspar.org.
SEASPAR works with individuals with disabilities alongside the park districts of Clarendon Hills, Darien, Downers Grove, La Grange, La Grange Park, Lemont, Lisle, Westmont, and Woodridge, and the villages of Brookfield, Indian Head Park, and Western Springs.
SEASPAR sports: Alpine Skiing, Aquatics, Athletics (track and field), Basketball, Bocce, Bowling, Cross Country Skiing, Flag Football, Floor Hockey, Golf, Gymnastics, Powerlifting, Soccer, Softball, Snowshoeing, Tennis, and Volleyball.
SEASPAR Wall of Fame Honorees
David Svitak – Team Illinois Basketball 2010 USA Summer Games, Gold
Jeff Osowski – 9-Hole Golf 2014 USA Summer Games, Bronze
Cindy Zajecka – Team USA Volleyball World Summer Games, 4th place
Michele Forzley – 9-Hole Golf 2006 USA Summer Games, Gold
Wayne Neumann – Team USA Volleyball 2003 World Summer Games, Gold
Randy Naberhaus – Singles Tennis 2003 World Summer Games, Bronze
Christina Schutz – Team Illinois Volleyball 2014 USA Summer Games, Gold
Molly Sosnowski – Downhill Alpine Skiing 2005 World Winter Games, Silver
Karen Buron – Cross Country Skiing 1985 World Winter Games, Gold (2)