BUTTE-Many events for the Special Olympics of Montana have been canceled this spring and summer due to the coronavirus and in Butte, first responders teamed up to cheer up the athletes.
The Special Olympics Summer Games have been canceled but in Butte, first responders teamed up to show the athletes just how much they appreciate them.
First responders in the Mining City were treated to cheers and applause as they paraded down Harrison Avenue on Friday night. Athletes and their families gathered in their cars at the Butte Plaza Mall to say hi to their favorite heroes.
“We want to let them know we care, we're here for them even though we can't get together as far as having games at this point in time,” said Southwest Montana Special Olympics Area Director Barbara Tymofichuk.
Tymofichuk adds it’s been tough on the athletes and police during these tough times. The Law Enforcement Torch Run was canceled due to the coronavirus but Butte police still ran 600 miles on their own to raise money and show support for the Special Olympics.
“Just doing something little like a parade for them if we can boost their spirits just to get through this then that’s what we're going to do,” said Butte Police Officer Ryan Hardy.
Hardy adds the parade was a success with dozens of athletes from Butte showing their support.
Tymofichuk says the Special Olympics of Montana announced they will be hosting virtual games for the athletes and cater to all of the athlete’s ability and skill levels. She says this is just another way to keep them engaged with their sports during these tough times.
“To show us we can think outside the box and we can do things that don't necessarily mean we have to gather in large groups in order to have fun and participate,” said Tymofichuk.
Although the summer games in Great Falls are canceled, Hardy wants to remind the athletes to keep their heads up and keep practicing their skills.
Hardy adds they have a run and other activities in the works for later in the year once the pandemic is over.
As of right now the State Basketball Tournament in November is still on, in Butte.
For more information on Special Olympics of Montana events and to support the athletes visit their website.