05/02/2012
Pearl Harbor-Hickam Naval Base according to the Ho'okele
Service members volunteer for Special Olympics events
Over 20 service members volunteered to help with the Special Olympics event held at the Henry J. Kaiser High School in Hawaii Kai according to the Ho'okele. Mei Nakamoto, the deck referee at the swim meet noted, "We are so grateful because every year, without fail, not only personnel from the military show up, but they show up with enthusiasm. They are always willing to help, and they are always willing to cheer. They are the best cheerleaders, and we want them to come back every year." Sailors, Marines and Airmen timed the athletes who were competing in several different swimming events.
Engineman 1st Class Tanner Baku, who is assigned to the Navy Region Hawaii was one of the timers and expressed his enthusiasm at being able to participate, "I've done it a few times, and I enjoy it. That's why I keep doing it, coming out here. I've done three full events in the past and a few practices. Coming to the events, and to see it all come together is awesome." The events range from 10-meter swim distances up to 50 meter which include the backstroke, freestyle and breaststroke. More than 2,100 adults and children participate in the Special Olympics Hawaii every year, and without fail, there are service members lining up to participate in the volunteer efforts of the organization. More than 50 competitions are held yearly through Special Olympics Hawaii. More than 6,000 volunteers participate annually.