Special Olympians Skybound

PROUD ATHLETES: More than 200 Cessna owners are volunteering their aircrafts to get these and thousands more athletes to and from the 2006 Special Olympics USA National Games in Ames, Iowa. Oklahoma is represented by 53 athletes, 15 coaches and 2 delegates, pictured here.

Courtesy Special Olympics

Special Olympics Oklahoma athletes are going into aviation record books. Since the Special Olympics began in 1987, Cessna owners have been giving athletes a lift to their competition. This year, converging right here in Tulsa, more athletes and more aircrafts than ever before are carrying these men and women to their chance at gold.

Owners of 230 Cessna are donating their aircrafts to transport more than 2000 athletes to the 2006 Special Olympics USA National Games in Ames, Iowa. The athletes hail from 28 states and 38 various locations. Oklahoma is sending 53 athletes, 15 judges and 3 delegates.

Eight Tulsa Cessna owners are a part of the journey. “We’ve supported the Citation Special Olympics Airlift since its inception in 1987,” said Joe Sasser, Kerr-McGee chief pilot. “Many of these Special Olympics athletes would not be able to carry out their dreams of competing at the national event without the airlift and I enjoy seeing the looks on their faces and their enthusiasm as they board the plane.”

Cessna Vice President, Special Olympics Airlift Marilyn Richwine says, “This makes travel much easier for the athletes. For many this may even be their first airplane ride, and riding in a Citation business jet is quite a way to go.”

The companies donating their Cessna Citation Business Jets for transporting Oklahoma athletes to and from the national games are: Air Charter Sales, LLC, Missouri; Dobber Aviation, LLC, Oklahoma; Great Southern Bancorp, Inc., Missouri; Kerr-McGee Corporation, Oklahoma; Nordam, Oklahoma; Papa Golf Aviation, LLC, Oklahoma; Premier Jet, LLC, Oklahoma; and Quik Trip Corporation, Oklahoma.

Richwine says, “The Airlift is a labor of love for Cessna and Cessna customers. I wish everyone could have the opportunity to see in person the magnitude of this and to see the smiles from athletes, pilots and volunteers. It’s a special way to give a special experience to some very special people.”

The mission of Special Olympics Oklahoma is to provide a year-round program of sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olymic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities and other closely related developmental disabilities.

To make contributions to sponsor an athlete for 2006 competitions and events, call 1(800)772-9004 or visit the website, www.sook.org.

Updated 06-27-2006

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