There will be plenty to celebrate when the Kentucky State Special Olympics Summer Games open at Eastern Kentucky University this year on Friday, June 3. In addition to the achievements of more than 1,000 athletes participating in the Games, Special Olympics Kentucky will celebrate ten years with Touchstone Energy Cooperatives of Kentucky as a platinum sponsor of the State Summer Games.
When the sponsorship began in 2013, it made Touchstone Energy Co-ops of Kentucky the biggest supporter of the Games. And while that continues to be the case, the partnership has grown far beyond sponsorship of the Summer Games.
In each of the years that the Summer Games have been held, Touchstone Energy representatives and often family members have been present as volunteers at the athletics venue, conducting all awards presentations on the track. They were also involved in the Olympic City – an athlete festival area at the Games – setting up a stand with giveaways and, weather permitting, bringing in the company’s hot air balloon.
In 2018, Touchstone Energy of Kentucky became the Official Hydration Partner of Special Olympics Kentucky, donating several pallets of bottled water each year that the organization uses at Summer Games and at events throughout year round. Each lunch offered to an athlete coach or volunteer at the Summer Games includes a bottle of water provided by the company. Water not used at the Summer Games is used in all other Special Olympics Kentucky competitions and fundraising events.
When the State Summer Games could not be held in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic, Touchstone Energy Co-ops of Kentucky continued its support of Special Olympics Kentucky throughout the year. They took part in the Tribute to the Summer Games campaign which filled the void left by the Summer Games, with representatives appearing in the video that closed the campaign. Their sponsorship was converted to a bi-annual partnership with co-ops featured at additional Special Olympics events later in the year.
The operatives also provided the award signage seen throughout the Summer Games and at other Special Olympics Kentucky competitions.
The decade-long relationship has been incredibly successful.
“From day one, we knew our partnership with Touchstone Energy Cooperatives of Kentucky was going to be something special,” said Trish Mazzoni, President and CEO of Special Olympics Kentucky. “They immediately understood everything, not only for the Summer Games, but also for our program as a whole and what it meant for our athletes and their families. It’s always great to see their group on the track and to see how much they enjoy the experience of being part of the Games. And the way they have stuck with us through truly uncertain times underscores their commitment to our athletes. It was an amazing experience that we really appreciate.
Joe Settles, representative of Touchstone Energy in Kentucky, said they are looking forward to Year 10.
“Our partnership with Special Olympics Kentucky has been an incredible way for us to demonstrate our commitment to the community,” Settles said. “For 10 years, we have enjoyed volunteering our time and supporting local athletes at the State Summer Games. We look forward to a wonderful event again this year. We already have more than 50 co-op employees and their family members who have signed up to volunteer. Good luck to all the athletes!
The Kentucky State Special Olympics Summer Games will be held June 3-4 of this year and will bring together more than 1,000 athletes, nearly 800 coaches and volunteers, and thousands of spectators from across the state in the most big event on the Special Olympics Kentucky calendar. Athletes compete in swimming, pétanque, soccer, rhythmic gymnastics and track and field. For the first time since 2019, there will be an Opening Ceremony on the Friday of the Games and the competition will take place on Friday evening and Saturday. All events are held at Eastern Kentucky University.
For more information on the State Summer Games or other Games sponsorship opportunities, contact President and CEO Trish Mazzoni at 502-695-8222 or [email protected]
Special Olympics is the world’s largest sports training and competition program for children and adults with developmental disabilities. Participation in the competitions is open to all persons aged eight or over. Training and competition in local, regional, state and national programs are offered year-round in Kentucky in 15 sports. In addition to its traditional athletic competitions, Special Olympics also offers early childhood programs through the Young Athletes Program, health screenings through the Healthy Athletes initiative, and community building programs for school systems through the Project Unify initiative. . Special Olympics celebrated 50 years of changing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities in 2018.
Kentucky Special Olympics