Special Olympics athlete earns honor at area meeting


Because of the initiative of Jeremiah Griffin and his family, Special Olympics is going strong again in Jackson County.

After playing basketball in 2016, the county program dissolved, so Griffin had to join the Bartholomew County program.

Since the family lived in Jackson County, his father, Donald Griffin II, wanted to see the program restarted there, so he organized meetings to set up a county management team.

Once that was established in the fall of 2017, the first activity offered in the spring of 2018 was a unified fitness club, and Jeremiah became involved. Since then, he has attended many of the weekly meetings, and his father, mother and sister often join him. He also was the only county athlete who participated in a Unified Fitness Club Day in Greenwood.

He then played for the softball and basketball teams while still going to the unified fitness club meetings. He was a part of the softball team that played in its first tournaments and sectional and the basketball team that played in four tournaments and the sectional. He helped the five-on-five basketball team make it to the sectional championship game in its level.

He also was the only county athlete to participate in Special Olympics Indiana’s signature fundraiser, the Polar Plunge, in February in Borden. He did fundraising as part of the Seymour Tsunamis team, which raised nearly $1,000.

Then he did track and field in the spring, where he competed in the Area 2 games in Seymour and Special Olympics Indiana Summer Games in Terre Haute.

This summer, he played softball again.

His efforts didn’t go unnoticed. During the Area 2 meeting Wednesday in Corydon, Jeremiah received the Spirit of Special Olympics Athlete of the Year award for the area.

Area 2 includes Bartholomew, Brown, Clark, Crawford, Floyd, Harrison, Jackson, Jefferson, Jennings, Orange, Scott, Switzerland and Washington counties. The awards for coach, volunteer and family of the year all went to the Clark-Floyd County program.

“It means a lot because it is my first big award,” said Jeremiah, a junior at Seymour High School. “I like being part of the basketball team and track and field team and going to the Summer Games because it’s just a great opportunity to do Special Olympics.”

Jeremiah was nominated for the award by the Special Olympics Indiana Jackson County county management team.

“No matter what he is doing, Griffin tries hard and makes the most of his time at practices, games and meetings,” the team wrote in the nomination letter.

“We have enjoyed watching him compete in games, including playing relentless defense on the basketball court, and be active during unified fitness club meetings, including working out with Anytime Fitness trainers, doing yoga and dancing during a Body Rock class,” they wrote. “He does it all with a smile, and you can tell he has a good time just being around others. That makes all of us want to be around him. He truly shows the dedication of a Special Olympics athlete, and we are sure that inspires other athletes and people around him.”

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